Home visits with iPad


- Hi, Erna, it's good to see you again! How's the shoulder? Can you show me how far you can stretch your arm? Can the nurse lift the iPad so i can see better?

The nurse is at the patient's home and is in need of physical advice. She connects the physio therapist to a video conference. That is how a home visit to a newly released patient can look like. Especially if the patient is referred to the patient-centered health service team at the University of Northern Norway.

This unique interdisciplinary team has a responsibility to follow up on patients with chronic diseases and/or complex conditions that are released from the hospital.

With the entire team in your pocket

Through the EU-project RemoAge they will test the iPad as a communication tool.

- Initially, we planned to have the iPad located at the patient's residence, and that he/she would use it on themselves to call us on video conference. In practice it would not work, since many of the patients in this group are both cognitive and physically weak. Therefore we use it mostly for communication between health personnel, Hege Mathisen says, nurse in the patient centered team.

- There have been times when i have travelled out to patients alone in situations where i need advice from a nurse or the patient need to talk to a doctor. Then it is perfect to have the iPad available such that the help is only a keystroke away, says Monika Eriksen, the physio therapist in the team.

Finding new applications

The use of the iPad has had a natural evolution in the team, and they have found new ways to use the iPad. For example, they filmed the situation at the patient's home for later receiving advice from colleagues.

- During a visit, we needed advice from a physio therapist. We filmed the patient going up the stairs, but avoided filming the face, to ensure the patient's privacy. The physio therapist made a video explaining how the patient should move to not get hurt, and the nurse that made the home visit could show the video.

Quality enhancing

Elin Breivik, project manager for RemoAge at the Norwegian Centre for E-health Research speaks positively about the members in the patient centered health service team.

- This enthusiastic group has found ways to use the iPad we had never thought at the project start. The goal with the project was to enhance the information flow and the interaction in the team, with external health personnel and patients, and we can already see that is happening.

Facts:

  • The technology that is used for the video conference is web rtc. This is a solution based on buffering that allows good video conversations even with fairly good network coverage.
  • The patient centered health service team is an interdisciplinary team containing physio therapists, ergo therapists, pharmacists, doctors and nurses.
  • The team has full access to both the municipal health service team and the specialist health service teams' patient journals.
  • The EU-project RemoAge will develop services to people suffering from serious, chronic and/or complex diseases based on existing knowledge from research and development.