How do you implement the iPad in the hospital setting for patient care and properly distribute it to a large group of physicians — all at once?

The University of Chicago’s Internal Medicine residency program tried this last year, and came up with a great blueprint for others to see.

Chicago’s Medicine residency garnered national headlines this past year with their use of the iPad for patient care. They have some great resources on their website that are public, showing how they have tackled many of the concerns of implementing a tablet based tool in the clinical setting.

The topics range from using the electronic health record Epic on the iPad — to Security, infection control, iPad accessories, purchasing apps, and more.  The various manuals are focused on the internal medicine residency program’s implementation of the iPad, and while some aspects are focused on the medical education use, the manuals can be extrapolated by hospitals or other medical educators trying to implement an iPad based curriculum or iPad based patient care scenario.

Topics featured in the manual: (Links to manuals are at end of the summary)

Using an EMR with the iPad:

  • The manual shows how to use Citrix, a virtual desktop app, for using an electronic health record. In the University of Chicago’s case, their house EMR is Epic.
  • For those wondering how Epic works and functions using Citrix, the manual does a great job of breaking this relationship down, even showing you how you can find local printers.
  • Some of the advantages they have found using the iPad and Epic: Can address patient issues while in conference, ability to discharge patient’s on rounds, patient education.


  • Gives the appropriate steps the internal medicine program has identified in case the iPad is stolen. You are not allowed to store any patient information locally on the device. This makes obvious sense, the iPad should only be accessing patient data on the cloud.

Infection control:

  • They give specific instructions on how to clean the iPad with specific solutions, such as Cavicide spray, and have given screen protectors as well.
  • They recommend not using the iPad in isolation rooms.

Basic Features:

  • Imagine taking 30 or so random people off the street, and telling them they will use the iPad for work. That’s basically what happens when a residency program, or hospital system starts implementing the iPad in a clinical workflow. Because of this, many of the so called “obvious features” aren’t so obvious. The manual does a fantastic job of showing what the basic features are of the iPad, and how to use them.

How to handle the rollout of the iPad, and manage multiple iPads:

  • There is also another manual called “iPad & Administration”.  It has some great content in it as well, and is aimed at the leaders who are in charge of deploying multiple iPads.  Some of the features: How to manage all the iPads and the rollout, how to track the devices, and some key accessories such as an iPad stylus and various iPad cases.  The residency program uses Mobile Iron, software that enables them to track the iPads, and more importantly, manage apps in bulks on the devices.


U of Chicago iPad initiative website

iPad Manual by Bhakti Patel, MD [PDF File]

iPad & Administration: By: Maria Jacobson, Bhakti Patel, MD [PDF File]