Oct 4, 2007

About: Ubiquitous Computing- Grandpa and grandkids use a webcam and Skype across the miles; "EMR: The Movie".

A close relative was recently in the hospital that offered free WiFi. The youngest grandchild, my niece, brought out her flute and played Grandpa a tune.

The instant access to the Internet made it possible to quickly look up medical information as the doctors spoke, which made it easier to ask informed questions later on.

To make the time go faster during the 9 hour wait in the emergency room, YouTube comedy clips from old Johnny Carson shows really helped. All of the laughing during an otherwise somber situation caused a bit of a stir among the medical staff, other patients, and their families.

Why not put a few Wi-Fi enabled displays around the emergency room?

A new hospital near Grand Rapids, Michigan, has taken this concept a step further. The hospital will be offer patients Internet access from wide-screen displays in their rooms:

"Each room is private, with windows, and offers a foldout couch for overnight guests, individual temperature and lighting adjustments and a 37-inch TV screen that can show any of 30 recently released movies. The video component also provides Internet access and a portal to view a person's electronically stored medical records, even results from tests taken just the day before."

UPDATE (3/29/09)
Information about the hospital, Metro Health:
"Just what the doctor ordered": Metro Health puts video over IP network to educate and entertain its patients

"Because the entertainment system is IP based, Optimal installers were able to connect it to the hospital’s HL7 network, a nationally accepted protocol that allows health systems to talk to each other. By connecting the IP network to the HL7, the system can access all patient records, entertainment, educational videos, even admissions information."

Coincidentally, I found this link in one of my "Google Alerts" messages about electronic medical records, titled "EMR: The Movie".

The author of the post discussed how EMR - Electronic Medical Records - have the potential of providing a snapshot of the patient's medical history. He went on to muse about how EMR should be depicted as a movie- which I think is a good idea.

At least the record system should use a combination of text, icons, video-clips, and interactive 3D medical imaging. Of course, this would have to be displayed on a touch screen display such as a NextWindow Human Touch or Microsoft Surface.....


Anonymous said...

Hi there! I'm doing a project on Skype and researching how its helped people keep in touch, especially given the economy and long distance. I'm really interested in how you connect your grandparents and kids through Skype. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your story with me? Feel free to add me on Skype, zorbett from new york, NY or email me at jennyskypes@gmail.com. Thanks, I look forward to hearing your story and would so appreciate your time!

Unknown said...

I would like to know if the hospital had any protocols for using Skype in the hospital, as it relates to confidentiality, HIPAA, etc.

Lynn Marentette said...

That is a good point. The picture was taken in 2007, before Skype was as common as it is now. I know that it was OK to Skype at another hospital earlier in 2009, lots of people were doing so.

If I was a patient at the hospital, I am sure I'd want my laptop, an internet connection, and Skype, or something like it. I have relatives who live in other states. Family support is very important for people who are in the hospital, and Skype seems to really be a godsend in situations in which loved ones are scattered across the globe.