The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City is using iPads in five nursing units to enable patients to access educational materials and entertainment options, as well as see their itinerary of procedures.

Soon, the program will transition from the hospital offering the tablets to offering the content via patients’ own smartphones and iPads.

First rolled out in early 2013 with access to education and entertainment such as movies and Internet, the tablets were well received. Patients completing a built-in short questionnaire gave the tablets 4.75 out of 5.0 stars, says Michael DeCarlo, director of innovation and analytics.

However, what patients really wanted was to better know what was coming next for them during their stay. Patients like to know when tests are being done and blood is being drawn, says Carol Porter, R.N., a senior vice president and chief nursing officer.

In late 2013 following development during the year, personalized patient itineraries were made available. Over time, about 35 iPads, rented from NYC vendor PadInMotion, were available on the five units. The hospital pays for the iPads and the cost is not passed on to patients.

With the merger of Mount Sinai and Continuum Health Partners into a delivery system comprising about 3,500 beds, using iPads to expand the program is not economically feasible. The organization now is looking to expand the program at Mount Sinai and integrate into the Continuum hospitals under a BYOD program that will enable patients to use their own smartphones and iPads. “We’ve collected enough data to prove value, so the next phase is BYOD,” DeCarlo says.

Patients coming onto participating units will be informed of the service, says Porter, who has high praise for assistance with the program from Mount Sinai’s information technology department. “When clinical partners with IT, you really can do remarkable things for the patients. Nurses across the nation really need to reach out to their IT colleagues and work together to improve the patient experience.”

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