Washington DC VA Medical Center
Mobile Health Provider Program - Dr. Shaman Singh
A typical day for Hospitalist Dr. Shaman Singh, MD starts at about 6 a.m. He begins reviewing his patient’s charts on his iPad while he is eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. Dr. Singh arrives at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center (VAMC) around 7:30 a.m., and continues reviewing his patient charts on his iPad until patient rounds begin. The iPad stays with Dr. Singh throughout the rest of his day, conveniently tucked into his lab coat pocket at times, easily accessible to support a wide variety of clinical tasks.
“I use my iPad to support my work about 95% of the day,” said Dr. Singh. “I use it to reference patients’ charts, enter notes, place orders, and review medical imaging. I can pull up medical diagrams, pictures or videos to provide patient education at the point of care.” For Dr. Singh, the real value of his mobile device is that he is no longer tethered to a desktop to pull up instant information for his patients.
Dr. Singh is a participant and champion of the VA Mobile Health Provider Program, the collaborative effort between the Connected Health Office, under the Veterans Health Administration Office of Informatics and Analytics (OIA), and the VA Office of Information and Technology (OI&T). The program equips VA health care teams with mobile technology, which enables on-the-go access to VA email, the VA App Catalog, commercial mHealth apps, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) capabilities in the medical center as well as off-site.
Dr. Singh is so confident of the positive impacts mobile health technology will have on providers and Veterans alike that he joined the Connected Health Office as a Clinical Lead for provider facing mobile applications. As a provider himself, and someone who uses an iPad in his everyday interactions with Veterans, Dr. Singh’s feedback is an essential perspective in the development of VA mobile health apps for use by providers and Veterans.
In his daily practice, Dr. Singh enjoys using his iPad to educate and empower his patients. For example, he can use his iPad to show patients their laboratory results, medication list, trends in vital signs, or even their radiological images.
“I can put the iPad in front of the patient and let them see for themselves. They can pinch and view the image, and get a better understanding of what their numbers mean if they are looking at them graphically. They can see if the results are too low or too high and relate them to interventions made over the past week or month. Information is power.” This type of patient engagement empowers patients with a better understanding of their own health information.
In addition to enabling patient engagement, the iPad also enables Dr. Singh with important patient information at his fingertips, allowing him to stay with his patient for longer.
“As an inpatient provider, we always have those moments where we tell our patients we need to leave them to find a computer in order to do something on their behalf, whether it is to request a lab, to add a diet order, to check on a result, to order additional pain medications. Now, I don’t have to leave my patient. With an iPad, I no longer have to travel back to the work room or lug a bulky workstation on wheels between floors. I can accomplish those tasks right in front of my patients at the point of care.”
Washington, DC VAMC is among 18 sites to receive mobile devices through this program. In total, more than 7,000 VHA providers and staff have begun incorporating mobile devices into their clinical practice. As the Mobile Health Provider Program continues to evolve, so do the opportunities to integrate mobile technology into enhanced care delivery.
For more information on the Mobile Health Provider Program, please visit: https://mobilehealth.va.gov/providers.