In Stanford Hospital Unit, iPads Fill in for TVs as Patient Entertainment

November 15, 2010

Anna Ciaravino helps Peter Pfeiffer use his iPad. Anna Ciaravino, Assitant Patient Care Manager in Stanford Hospital's catheterization and angiography laboratory, showed patient Peter Pfeiffer the movies available on the lab's iPads while he waited in the
pre-procedure area.

Instead of television, Stanford Hospital is offering some patients a more high-tech form of entertainment: iPads.

As part of a pilot program, the hospital has outfitted its catheterization and angiography laboratory with five of the tablet computers. They’ve been loaded with movies, books and games. They can also connect to the Internet through the hospital’s wireless network.

“Patients love them,” said Anna Ciaravino, assistant patient care manager at the lab, noting that some spend as long as seven hours in the recovery area following a catheterization procedure, such as a cardiac or cerebral angiogram. “They can check their e-mail, watch a movie or read the news or a book.”

Originally, lab supervisors wanted to put televisions in the pre-procedure and recovery area, but they ran into obstacles. “It was going to be tough to install the monitors and brace them appropriately, and also difficult to run the cables,” said Shelly Reynolds, the lab director.

During a walk-through of the lab with Carolyn Byerly, the hospital’s chief information officer, Ciaravino suggested making iPads available to patients in lieu of TVs. “It was a marvelous idea, and it was easy to do right away,” Byerly said.

Peter Pfeiffer uses the iPad to read news. Patient Peter Pfeiffer looked at the ABC News for iPad application.

Jacqueline Kixmiller, the lab’s patient care manager, and her team helped to jumpstart the pilot. Katie Carr, a project coordinator in the hospital’s Information Technology Department, customized security software on the devices to comply with hospital standards. Carr also is overseeing a survey to measure patient satisfaction with the program. “We’re trying to enhance the patient experience,” she said. “It’s a nice opportunity for the IT group to be involved with patient care.”

Results from the survey are set to be evaluated early next year. If they’re positive, Byerly said she may expand the pilot program to other hospital units to complement, but not replace, TVs. (Already, patients who have their own handheld or laptop computer may log on to the hospital’s “friends and family” network anywhere in the building.)

The other day, Peter Pfeiffer, a library specialist for the City of Palo Alto, sat in the pre-procedure area of the lab and flipped through the ABC News for iPad application. “They’ve really spiffed up this app interface,” Pfeiffer said.

Ciaravino showed him the iPad’s movie selection. She recommended “Date Night.” Pfeiffer demurred.

 Did he prefer the iPad to watching TV?

“I’m actually pretty addicted to TV, but this is a nice change,” Pfeiffer said. “I hope they continue it.”

By John Sanford


About Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of "America's Best Hospitals," Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients. It is part of the Stanford University Medical Center, along with the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, visit http://stanfordmedicine.org.

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