6 Spine Surgeons on Mobile Technology Enhancing Patient Care


Six spine surgeons discuss the use of mobile technology to enhance their practice. Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question: What lessons can current spine surgeons learn from their predecessors?

Please send responses to Heather Linder at hlinder@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, May 29, at 5 p.m. CST.

Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein of NYU Langone Medical Center's Hospital for Joint DiseasesJeffrey Goldstein, MD, Director of Spine Service, NYU Langone Medical Center's Hospital for Joint Diseases: Mobile technology has allowed us to keep better track of our patients and improve patient care. Office and hospital EMR allows access to patient records and imaging when outside of the hospital. This allows us to look up patient information or electronically prescribe patient medications. At NYU Langone Medical Center Hospital for Joint Diseases we recently converted to Epic.

Dr. Richard Kube of Prairie Spine & Pain InstituteRichard Kube, MD, Spine Surgeon, CEO and founder of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute, Peoria, Ill.:
We currently use the Microsoft Lync phone system. It allows us to use computers as phones. We implemented Bluetooth headsets so that once logged into their workstations, staff can be up and about — i.e. more productive while still having the ability to answer calls. We are also implementing usage of Android and iPad platforms with a patient portal within a model merging Microsoft SharePoint and GE Centricity. The patients can fill out the paperwork at home or on a tablet. The information is captured and auto-populates the EMR.

Another tool is the 3D4Medical app for iPad. Their SpinePro III is a 3-D animation program demonstrating anatomy and typical pathologic conditions of the spine. You have the ability to freeze the animation at any point, draw on it with your finger, and then send that image to the patient via email right in front of them. It helps with education and also gives the patient a descriptive picture of their condition to review at home.

Richard Guyer, MD, Founder, Texas Back Institute, Plano: I am a big fan of technology. Gone are the days of pagers. We use smartphones for communication via text messaging between physicians, staff and fellows for immediate patient problems and emails for less urgent items. With electronic medical records and PACS we can access patient records and X-rays via secure Internet connections from any of our seven offices or from our home or even on vacation. No longer do have to drag charts and folders of the patient's X-rays to the operating room. All we need is a large flat screen and the Internet.

For our weekly group case review, we will utilize Apple TV to show cases on our large flat screen from our iPhones (yes, all but one of us have iPhones). We also use smartphones and photos of X-rays for instant second opinions among each other. In fact our old fellows will do the same. The only technology we lack right now is holographic presence so we can lecture at out of town or country meetings without being there!

William Taylor, MD, Neurosurgeon, UC San Diego Health System:
The expansion of apps and tablets had been a significant enhancement to our practice. We now have capability to review films, complete medical record allocations and complete billing from both smartphones and tablets. We also expanded our patient outreach to include tablet-based education system for preoperative patients. This includes surgical videos, disclaimers and disclosures that may be viewed by the patient at their leisure.

We have also found that managing online grading systems by providing easier access to our patients for immediate feedback has been beneficial in keeping up-to-date on the various online healthcare scoring and rating systems. This allows you to update your online profile to reflect real scores and patient satisfaction grades on a real-time basis.

Dr. Jeffrey Wang of UCLA SpineJeffrey Wang, MD, UCLA Spine Center: I do have a smartphone and multiple portable computer-type devices. This is simply wonderful. I can access my EMR on my smartphone, tablet and laptop. This is critical as I can follow patient results, progress notes, vitals, lab findings and also sign my operative reports remotely from anywhere in the world. As I write this response to you, I am sitting here in a meeting in Hong Kong on my smartphone. I am also able to interact with my hospital X-ray viewing software and view imaging studies. This allows me to better care for my patents remotely, access important data and be more engaged in the patient care process even when not in the hospital room.

Kern Singh, MD, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago: I use an iPhone and iPad. Our EHR system is iPhone-based, and our intake questionnaires are all based on the iPad for patients.

More Articles on Spine:
15 Spine Surgeons Focused on Lumbar & Cervical Disc Replacement
ISASS: 5 Guidelines for Vertebral Augmentation
Dr. Domagoj Coric Responds to BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Report on Artificial Discs

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