iPod TouchClinicians at Jung-Stilling Hospital in Germany are using an iPod Touch to access patient data and diagnostic images at the hospital bedside.

The wirelessly-connected iPods are loaded with PACS software enabling staff to take information including patient information, test results, x-rays, MRIs and CT scans directly to the patients.

The hospital, which is located in Siegen in South West Germany, began deploying a wireless network from 3com at the beginning of 2008 providing a platform for wireless mobility around the hospital grounds and internet access for patients.

Networking specialists 3com and systems integrator Bedea have worked together to carry out a ‘road-test’ for the new technology so that the hospital could access information on the pocket-sized iPod Touch via the hospital’s wireless network.

Herr Damm, head of department for data communications for Bedea, who helped to implement the solution, told E-Health Europe, “In the initial phase other terminals were used including a palm device but they each showed disadvantages in terms of battery life, display and pin handling. The iPod was perfect for what we needed.”

All senior clinicians at the hospital are now using the iPods and there are further plans to roll them out across the hospital throughout the year.

Damm told EHE that the primary use of the device is for accessing patient data in tabular format. The zoom and scrolling functionality of the iPod allows users to quickly enlarge tables and information in more detail, which can also be used for things like mammography images.

He added: “Physicians can access the intranet on the go as well as any database systems. It has cut the time and resource needed previously to access laboratory findings, reports, images and similar files from outpatient systems.

“It’s also improved the speed at which information can be accessed and demonstrated in real-time and has been really well received.”

The iPod Touch design is also proving well suited for use in a clinical environment, thanks to its sealed streamline design, which allows it to be easily wiped clean to limit the threat of infection in hospitals such as MRSA and the increasing threat of swine flu.