Over the past 6 years we’ve seen technology change our lives. I’m probably an unusually early adopter of a lot of technologies because I work in the field, but I wonder how other people have found technology helping them in a medical aspect.
At home, I’ve used the Internet to learn – googling unknown terms, reading blogs with ECG challenges, learning about the body’s processes and how we affect those. I’ve researched specific conditions or drugs that I’ve come across and am unfamiliar with. I’ve witnessed discussions on blogs and on twitter that have made me think about my treatment, my handling of patients as well as conditions that I come across.
Out in the field, I’ve used my Blackberry to great effect:
- Drugs – I’ve looked up drugs that I’m not familiar with and some that even the paramedic on scene hasn’t seen before. There’s an enormous array of drugs out there and it’s important for us to be able to find out some key information.
- Conditions – we frequently attend to transport patients who have been diagnosed by their GP. Not only are Doctor’s handwriting notoriously bad, but they on occasion use terminology I’m not familiar with. A quick google normally sorts that out and gives me a better understanding of the patient’s condition and how to treat them for the short time they’re with us. I have even, on occasion, passed this information on to the nurse who’s taken our handover.
- Finding a location – ah, the perennial problem of ambulance work: finding the patient. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used Google on my Blackberry to find nursing homes. Google maps has helped us navigate there when TomTom has failed.
- Getting into a house – yeah, not your usual use of a mobile phone this, but I did once make use of the Internet to find the telephone number for a patient’s family to find out where the spare key was kept. 1am, standing outside the patient’s house, freezing cold and stomping around in the snow with no way of getting in, I was very glad I had my mobile with me.
I’m actually considering getting the BNF on my phone at the moment to help us with understanding drugs – the drugs a patient is taking is often helpful in giving us an idea of what the patient is suffering from when the patient can’t or won’t tell us.
I’ve even, on occasion, been known to use my phone to make phone calls.
So, how do you use your phone? How has it changed the way you work?