The U.S. Army is considering using tablet computers to help field medics record vital signs, access patient health records and document care in combat zones, NextGov's "Health IT Update" reports (Pulley, "Health IT Update," NextGov, 8/18).
Reasons for the Switch
For the past four years, Army medics in combat zones have used Motorola hand-held devices to log care delivery, as well as soldiers' illnesses and injuries.
However, the Motorola device only can support a limited version of the army's electronic outpatient record. The device also is prone to being damaged by sand.
Possible Use of Tablet Devices
Tablet and touch-screen devices -- such as iPads, iPhones and Android-based devices -- can run a more robust version of the Army's electronic health record system that features alerts about patient allergies and potentially harmful effects of mixing certain drugs.
In addition, the tablet devices could allow medics to:
- Access basic laboratory, pharmacy and radiology applications in combat zones; and
- Scan a soldier's Common Access Card to record patient data.
Mike Jones -- chief of emerging technologies in the Army CIO's office -- said he expects some tablets will be approved for use by December.
He added that the Army also is reviewing how to manage and update mobile devices and remotely remove data from devices that are lost or stolen (Johnson, Federal Times, 8/12).