December 6, 2016 Last Updated 1:12 pm

Jacobs Medical Center opens doors in November with an iPad and Apple TV in every room

‘By adding connectivity in every patient room, each person can take control of their hospital experience from regulation of their environment to connecting online with friends and family for support’

This release crossed my desk and it home as my mother recently spent a long stay at the hospital (in Texas) before returning to her residence. While there it was startling to see how little control over her own care she had, and how little communication was really possible.

Here, however, the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health has fitted its rooms with an iPad and Apple TV. The iPad can adjust the room temperature, lights and shades, while the Apple TV can be used to AirPlay apps and videos to the in-room television.

This brings one to the obvious question: will patients be knowledgeable enough to use the digital media gadgets? This is particularly important with elderly patients who never have completely adapted to the new technologies. But I know many others have, and I’m sure they will appreciate the added conveniences.

Of course, health care is incredibly expensive in the U.S., and will likely become even more expensive in the next few years as we US voters have decided to move further away from universal health care and towards total privatized, for-profit solutions. So, someone will have to pay for all this.

Here is the announcement from the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health on their iPad and Apple TV program:


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San Diego, Calif. – December 6, 2016 –– With a swipe and tap of an iPad, patients at the newly opened Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health can be in command of their own experience by controlling room temperature, lighting, accessing their personal medical information, details on their patient care team and entertainment options all from their beds.

“By adding connectivity in every patient room, each person can take control of their hospital experience from regulation of their environment to connecting online with friends and family for support,” said Thomas J. Savides, MD, Chief Experience Officer at UC San Diego Health. “Patients also see portions of their electronic medical record to help them understand their progress and anticipate daily events. We hope that feeling in control will aid in the healing process.”

By employing a combination of technologies not found at other California hospitals, UC San Diego Health has become an industry leader that is moving inpatient care to a new level.

“UC San Diego Health is already among the most sophisticated hospitals in the country, leveraging wireless technology to improve efficiency of the healthcare process,” said Christopher A. Longhurst, MD, Chief Information Officer at UC San Diego Health. “We are now focused on using information technology in innovative ways to deliver a better experience for patients that engages them in their own care.”

Jacobs Medical Center, a 245-bed medical and surgical specialty hospital that opened its doors to patients in November, has equipped every room with an iPad and Apple TV. Upon arrival at their room, patients have immediate access to the iPad, which allows them to take command of their room environment, reducing the need to call or wait for assistance to lower blinds or adjust room temperature.

But it’s the secure access to their own medical records, using the new MyChart Bedside iOS app by Epic, the electronic health record system in place at UC San Diego Health that enables patients to have more information in their hands than ever before. After patients create their own PIN to access medical records, they have safe and easy access to test results, photographs and biographies of their health care team, a schedule of medications or upcoming procedures and educational materials prescribed by physicians.

“Some patients are very interested in lab results because discharge from the hospital depends on what the tests reveal,” said Marc Sylwestrzak, information services experience and development director at UC San Diego Health. “Patients find having this information readily available is empowering. A combination of the security features, vital health data available through MyChart Bedside, control of the room environment and access to entertainment all available from an Apple iPad makes what we offer unique.”

When considering the latest technology available for an improved patient experience, the information services team’s first priority was patient privacy, said Sylwestrzak. Ensuring that a patient’s medical record and personal usage data is erased when the individual leaves the hospital room is critical.

To do this, each iPad leverages Jamf for mobile device management to automatically wipe patient data from each device immediately following a patient’s discharge and prepare the iPad for the next patient, leaving no trace of a previous user’s history. The software communicates with Epic to coordinate iPad management with patient records, ensuring that patient privacy is protected at all times.

To manage the room environment, a Crestron application is installed on each tablet for patients to adjust room temperature, lights and shades. iPads are also equipped with popular entertainment apps, but patients also have the option to download some of their favorite apps as well. In addition, by using the AirPlay Mirroring feature, patients are able to show what is on the iPad with others in the room by sharing content via Apple TV.

“People come to us during their most vulnerable moments, when they need our expertise to treat their illness or injury,” said Savides. “When we designed Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health, we considered not just the physical needs of the patient but the whole person. By empowering patients with more information about their care and by giving them more control of their surroundings, we hope that patients feel that they are part of their health care team and feel at home with us.”

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