Useful Apps for GPs to install on their iPad


Photo of iPad displaying website homepage of www.reedyfordgp.com
Photo of iPad displaying website homepage of http://www.reedyfordgp.com

So you have a new iPad, and maybe you are wondering just what you could do with it to use the iPad to its full potential ? These are a few suggestions that I hope you will find useful. This article is primarily aimed at GPs who haven’t used iPads before or who are wondering about having a go with some of the different apps that can make life a bit easier – or more entertaining . Please email me or leave comments at the bottom of the page if you have any suggestions of what to add. The apps below are all ones that I use. I have had a variety of apps suggested to me via twitter friends that I am in the process of  trying out. Search #GPiPad on twitter to see who their suggestions or click here for the search on google. 

Background

In 2013 East Lancs CCG applied to use some innovation funding to purchase iPads with Emis Mobile installed for the GPs working in Pendle. Its traditional for GPs to take a printed summary of the patients records with them when they go a home visit. The downside of this is that it can only offer a fraction of the information that the GPs are used to working with when they are at their regular computer in their GP Surgery. Emis Mobile on the iPad can allow the GP to view and edit aspects of the  patients records using a mobile 3G connection whilst at the patients bedside. The Emis Mobile version of Emis Web is expected to develop over the next year to provide a more complete offering to the GP.

Apps Apps Apps – its all about Apps

First steps . Set up an apple ID if you don’t already have one. This is the account that you will use to purchase apps from the Apple App Store. The good news is that many apps will work on all devices, and many have free or basic versions that you can use to “try before you buy”. You will need to link your account to a credit card so that you can pay for apps that aren’t free. It is possible for several devices to use the apps that have been paid for with one account. – more info is available from the apple website – but if you do this – please make sure that the messaging features are set up properly on each device or everyone will see the same notifications etc. This also means that software you may already be using your own apple devices may also be used this NHS device without additional costs.

Next – track down or apply for your NHS Athens Password and ID . You will need it in order to unlock some really useful apps like the BNF .

Apps for Communication

Social Media can be a useful way of discussing ideas or commenting on developments in local or national health policy. Many more clinical staff are using twitter nowadays. Please consider joining twitter and joining  in the conversations about  health in Pendle by using the #ELTH hashtag in your tweets. I also recommend the #NHSSM tweet chats as these are an easy way of getting into conversations with likeminded health professionals around the UK.

Twitter 

LinkedIn  Is another social media – but this one is much more like a professional social media for professionals . There are closed groups within this that you can apply to join if you have a particular interest.

Google+ Is well worth a look. It is likely to become much used in the next 5 years as Facebook users realise how much their experience is being stage-managed by  Facebook optimising their paid for marketing. Google plus also links well with googles email service gmail. This has a 15 GB free storage – much bigger than nhs email. Owning and using a google account also enables you to log into Youtube. If you are logged into YouTube you are then able to “subscribe” to content from individuals. The content from Hill View surgery illustrates how YouTube offers more to offer Drs and patients that just skateboarding cats. 

Facebook  Has some features thanks can be useful for GPs , plus it is popular with patients. Tikos GP Group is a closed group on Facebook that some GPs use for a kind of Peer support .  ( There are some GPs from Pendle who are part of the 2000 UK GPs in the group ) . Email me, Dr Stuart Berry , via your NHS Email if you are wanting to join and work in East Lancs. Closed group means its like a private party with a bouncer on the door. Non members cannot see the content. Members practice a kind of self-regulation to ensure that the content that is produced is appropriate.

Email 

NHS mail does work with the iPad – but can sometimes run into difficulty . It is worthwhile having a go at setting it up. When it is working its very useful, but there are times when it can be idiosyncratic and stop working on apple devices – these problems usually sort themselves out over time , once new updates come along from Apple.

Official Gmail APP  is great . Gmail now has the option of automatically sorting email into 4 categories. Watch this video for an overview. 

Medical Content

BNF   Get it free , with your Athens ID

Map of Medicine   Its isn’t an App ( yet ) but you can create a tab for your iPad screen.

Apps to Improve Productivity 

Evernote  Offers a range of tools that can help you to become more organised. It can be used to create a scrapbook of resources for use in a project which can be shared with others, and includes other features such as optical character recognition of handwritten notes plus much more. Where it really comes into its own is when you install plugins into your desktop browser or laptop. It is then possible to create one digital scrapbook that pulls in info from different devices or websites. Has the potential to be very helpful , but requires some time to get the hang of it upfront.

Skitch  works with Evernote , and allows you to take a photo – e.g. with the iPad camera , then add notes ontop of the pic to get your message across.

Freshbooks Online Accounts Package is useful if you need to create invoices , and keep record of who has paid what. It can also be used to log the time spent on particular projects and create internal invoices – which may be useful within practices. The free version allows you to invoice and track unlimited numbers of invoices for unto 3 clients. This is what i have started to use for tracking CCG payments.

Scanner Apps 

Its worthwhile having a scanner app on your iPad or phone. So much easier than keeping tack of pieces of paper. Here are 2 that i use ;

Genius Scan  is free to try. It costs £2.99 to unlock the full programme.

Pixter Scanner OCR is also worthwhile paying the current £ 1.99 for. Click here for the iTunes store

The iPads that we are using are only 16GB . This means that you may find that you need to make use of online storage space. Please remember to only use these these if you are using a WiFi connection as the CCG 3G sim has a  monthly data limit.

Drop Box  offers online storage space that can seamless sync with folders on desktop PCs or mobile phones.

iBooks  will need to be installed before you can enjoy interactive books e.g. Resonate by Nancy Duarte Click on the “download ibook” link. Many publishers produce ibooks , and regularly offer free ibooks from the online store. ibooks are useful as they include embedded videos that help to get the message across. The MacSparky Field guides are also worth a look .

I bought his one on email after reading ;  “Email is relentless and, at times, overwhelming. Learn how email works so you can fight back. This book includes an explanation of underlying email technologies, best practices, and recommendations for the best software and services to help you conquer email.” I haven’t conquered email yet – but its given me some tools to use.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to post comments online.

This Post has been created by Dr Stuart Berry @stuartberry1

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