On house call with iPad - Norway

The nurse is with the patient in her home and she needs physical advice. She hooks up with the physiotherapist on videoconference. This is how a house call to a recently discharged patient can be carried out especially if the patient is referred to the patient-centered health care team at the University Hospital of North Norway.

– Good morning, Erna, it is nice to see you again! How is your shoulder? Can you show me how far you can stretch your arm? Could the nurse lift the iPad a bit so I can see you better?

This unique, interdisciplinary team is responsible for following up patients with chronic and/or complex conditions that are discharged from the hospital.

An entire team in your pocket

The patient-centered team is testing the iPad as a communication tool within the frames of the European project RemoAge.
– Initially, we planned for the iPad to be in the patient’s home, and that she should use it to call us. In the end, this was not how it happened. Many of the patients in this group are both cognitively and physically impaired thus the iPad was too complicated for them. That is why the iPad has become a communication tool mostly between health professionals, says Hege Mathisen, nurse in the patient-centered team.

– I have faced situations alone on house calls where I needed advice from a nurse or maybe the patient needed to talk to a doctor. In these situations, it is brilliant to have the iPad available so that help is just a keystroke away, says Monika Eriksen, physiotherapist of the team.

Invents new uses

The use of iPad has evolved naturally in the team, and the team members have figured out new ways to use it. For example by filming a situation in the patient’s home in order to get advice from colleagues when back in the office.
– This one time, for example, we needed physical advice so we filmed the patient while she walked up the stairs, but did not frame her head so that we would ensure patient privacy.
The physiotherapist made a video explaining how the patient should move not to get hurt, and the nurse who went on house call could show the film.

Elin Breivik, project leader for RemoAge at the Norwegian Centre for E-health Research praises the members of the patient-centered health care team:
– This enthusiastic bunch have found ways to use the iPad that we had not thought of when the project began. The aim of the project is to improve the flow of information and interaction within the team, with external healthcare professionals and patients, and we can already see that this is happening.

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