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Apple's iPad is helping patients to communicate at this forward-thinking hospital

by Doug Drinkwater

May 29 2013

The Walton Centre in Liverpool is using iPads to help patients communicate with staff (Image: The Liverpool Echo)
The Walton Centre in Liverpool is using iPads to help patients communicate with staff (Image: The Liverpool Echo)

Apple’s iPad isn’t just useful for doctors, but for patients too. That’s the verdict at one UK hospital which is now using iPads with FaceTime to improve hospital communication.

The Walton Centre is a specialist brain hospital in Liverpool, England and it is now using the iPad so that patients who find it difficult to talk can still communicate with doctors and family members.

Local newspaper The Liverpool Echo reports that two iPads are fitted to each hospital trolley, with one pointing at the patient’s face and the other showing the patient what they have written.

Doctors can see their patient with FaceTime (or Skype), while ComputerWeekly adds that AssistiveWare’s Proloquo2Go software allows patients to type their message to their doctor or family member. The software then converts this text into audio and relays the message to the other caller.

Hospital staff first had the idea to use iPads in this way after they saw a patient with spinal injuries struggle to hold his tablet, and the move appears to have paid dividends.

The first user of the solution believes that the iPad has been a “lifeline” for communicating with hospital staff and his family.

“It is great, really great. It means for a start off that you can ask staff a question. Up until using it I had to lip read and they are the worst lip readers. You would ask for a bed pan and end up with a blanket,” said Norman Hurst. 

“You’re also able to type out any questions you have and then play it back for doctors when they come around so you can say exactly what you wanted to say.

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