Apple technology boosts care at Great Ormond Street

iPads and iMacs enable clinicians to improve services for sick children

Medics at Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital are now using iPads and iMacs to check patient records and hold case conferences

Healthcare workers at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) in London are now using Apple technology to improve the care of sick youngsters.

The hospital is in the process of rolling out iPads and iMacs in a number of key departments, including cardiology, where, using Osirix software, clinicians can view 3D images of patients’ hearts while planning for surgery, or even inside the theatre, where they can call up pictures directly onto an iMac workstation.

Future Labs Group worked with GOSH and its existing partners to drive forward the technology and the resulting architecture is capable of being scaled up to securely integrate the mobile devices GOSH uses now, as well as handling its future needs.

Our clinicians told us they wanted to use Apple technology, so it is something we are embracing and we have created one of the best infrastructures in the world to make it happen

Already, the devices are used by an ever-growing number of staff including organ donor nurses, paediatric intensive care specialists, heart surgeons and hospital technicians. They are also used by the children’s acute transport service (CATS) team which travels to critically-ill children in the community, stabilises them, and gets them safely to hospital.

Mark Large, GOSH’s IT director, said: “Our clinicians told us they wanted to use Apple technology, so it is something we are embracing and we have created one of the best infrastructures in the world to make it happen.

“What is particularly beneficial is that they can now do things like join conference calls or access information, no matter where they are. That can make a real difference if something happens like an urgent case conference is called to discuss treatment for a very sick child. No matter where the members of the care team are, they can join the conference on their iPad.

“Clinicians need to be able to access data and update records in real-time while they are at the bedside to ensure each patient gets the best possible care. For many nurses and healthcare workers, an iPod Touch is ideal because they can simply slip it in a pocket when it’s not in use. For others, such as doctors using complex clinical software, the larger screen of the iPad is more appropriate.”

During deployment, Kanteron Systems led the migration of 10.5 million images to the two new Apple servers in a single weekend.

Putting the Apple technology on the GOSH network has made the retrieval of images in theatre simple and quick. This is a classic example of how IT should be used to help frontline clinical activity

Commenting on the cardiology solution, Large said: “The technology is quite incredible – and it is all about patient safety. It’s enabling our clinicians to take on complex and challenging heart surgery and to perform it safely. They can see exactly what the heart is like, from any angle, before they start and the images they need are available to them instantly at any time. And the importance of timeliness cannot be underestimated - putting the Apple technology on the GOSH network has made the retrieval of images in theatre simple and quick. This is a classic example of how IT should be used to help frontline clinical activity.”

The technology is also benefiting intensive care clinicians. Dr Joe Brierley, a consultant intensivist, said the systems are valuable for consultation and training, adding: “Even if I’m somewhere else, I can drop in on a ward round remotely and be involved with a patient’s treatment.”

Infection control is also key concern for intensive care patients. In these circumstances mobile devices can be a severe infection risk. However, GOSH has been trialling a ruggedised, fluid-proof, clinical case for iPads, known as Flipad that is being developed by Future Labs Group. The company’s chief executive, Mike Casey, said: “The infection control team at GOSH work to an absolute gold standard, so I wanted their input. I also wanted to work with clinicians so they could contribute to its design.”

Dr Brierley said: “It’s so useful to be able to input data when you are actually with the patient, but you can’t run the risk of infection so it was really reassuring to know that you could sit there and acquire data on an iPad which was completely clean.”

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