My brother is a doctor – an orthopedic surgeon, and a very good one – but that could be the bias talking. He’s missed birthdays, graduations, holidays, and a myriad of events for patient needs – though he was there for the birth of each of his kids, so we cut him some slack.
Back when we both lived at home with our parents, I remember him getting his first white coat, his first stethoscope, and listening to him talk endlessly in “ortho” mode about all these things that made no sense to me, like distraction osteogenesis, and the latest news in hip replacements. These were just riveting dinner table conversation topics for someone on the “outside”. #InsertEyerollHere
I just thought my older brother was boring every time he would boast about his studies or his work. All these years later, I know it was because he was really proud of his work – his passion.
When he eventually chose his speciality, and decided to go into orthopedics, I really think it was because of all the visits he had to an orthopedist. Seriously, my brother was what we liked to call “accident prone” – but let’s face it: he was a klutz! Our orthopedist suggested we pick up a “frequent flyer card” on our second visit – for a broken arm he suffered from an overly aggressive turn on the basketball court at school during gym class, and again when he fractured his collarbone after falling off his skateboard.
Now I think more about it, he probably picked up his first full year of medical school knowledge before he could drive, just from his own experiences!
We are six years apart, so I was in my senior year of high school when he was really just starting out in medical school. Beepers were all the rage back then. I hated that beeper. It went off at all hours, and my brother is a sound sleeper. Without a doubt, I heard it more than he did!
My brother’s beeper has long ago retired. Like so many medical professionals, he has:
He also has a desktop computer in his home office and at his practice, but they don’t get used nearly as much as his mobile devices. At any given moment, he’s on his smartphone or tablet, since he can temporarily put one or the other down in the middle of some task, note, or communication, and then pick up later in a completely different location.
Mobile devices help make orthopedic surgeons more efficient. The birth of electronic health records (EHR) and the ability to access from anywhere have helped orthopedists evaluate, diagnose and treat much faster – which is a major bonus to the guy sitting on the exam table in pain.
Aside from EHR access, orthopedic surgeons use mobile devices for on-the-go imaging and modeling, and some really cool high-tech software. Now, seeing my brother’s cool software demonstrations makes me think back to my Industrial Technology class in high school where I got to experiment with CAD software – my favorite was being able to design the fastest and most efficient design for an automobile, which is why my brother is the orthopedic surgeon and not me!
He and I aren’t so different – we both love our smartphones. Whether it’s an Android phone or an iPhone, or anything in between, the smartphone offers more than just Candy Crush – or maybe Smashy Road for my brother to simulate the car accidents his patients have experienced! But really, we may use different apps, but the overall concept is the same: delivering the full power of a powerful computer right in our pockets.
Not only do more orthopedists use mobile devices in their practice compared to a decade ago, but it’s clear that the need is there – expanded use of mobile devices sheds time from each patient interaction without compromising the quality of patient care.
No more, “I’ll be right back,” when going to look something up in one of those thick medical journals.
That said, mobile devices carry their own set of security risks. Accessing or storing patient data on a mobile device opens the orthopedist to cybersecurity threats. My brother has a few safeguards in place, and I know he’s not the only medical provider to do such:
As more hospitals migrate to EHR and adopt cloud storage, mobile device usage will continue to dominate the healthcare industry.
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