Healthcare News & Insights

Grant delivers iPads to improve patient safety and care

A foundation recently announced a large grant program aimed at helping hospitals use technology to protect patient safety and dignity. 

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, created by the Intel Corp., announced plans to award $500 million to hospitals over the next decade. The goals of the grant program are to eliminate preventable harm to patients and prevent the loss of dignity and respect patients often experience during long hospital stays.

One issue the foundations sees is that patients often have a difficult time tracking their own conditions and communicating with caretakers. The grant money will be used to invest in health IT tools to help improve communication and get patients more involved in their care.

For example, the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, the program’s first recipient, will use $8.9 million to give all patients an iPad or other tablet. Those devices will allow patients and their families to hold video conferences with physicians and keep updated ratings of how their doctors are performing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The information given by patients will be accessible by doctors, who can use those checklists to easily see what they should be doing when treating the patient. Often, simple but important steps like making sure a patient’s teeth are brushed or that the patient’s bed is raised to comfortable level are missed because doctors forget them while focusing on larger issues.

The project will also involve connecting various medical devices via the hospitals network so they can communicate with each other. For example, pumps that deliver pain medication will be linked to devices that monitor breathing. Some medications can cause breathing problems in patients, so the pumps will be able to automatically shut off at the first sign of an issue, the Associated Press reports.

The University of California-San Francisco also received a $2.1 million grant to conduct a study of patient safety in ICUs.

Visit the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s website for more information about the grant program.

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