Quick update: Pharmacy iPad use

I’ve been running around the pharmacy with a new iPad for the last couple of days. Actually, I’ve been handing it off to pharmacist after pharmacist for the last couple of days. After seeing the device, they all of a sudden have some interest in it. Go figure.

My hope is to use the iPad as a tool for the pharmacists on the floor to access patient data, drug information resources, etc. The advantages of the devices are its size and weight – the iPad actually fits in the outside pocket of the pharmacists lab coat – along with its 10-plus hour battery life.

The pharmacists are currently using a combination of Motion J3400 and Dell XT2 tablet PCs. They appear to like both devices, but the two most common complaints I hear are that they are heavy and have poor battery life.

The iPad is using Citrix Receiver to access a “virtual pharmacy desktop”. The virtual desktop has all the clinical applications that the pharmacists typically use during rounds plus access to Lexi-Comp, UpToDate, Micromedex, etc.

The Citrix Receiver works well and I was pleasantly surprised by the response of the applications inside Citrix on the iPad. I was expecting the same sluggish response that I’ve seen from many virtual desktop connections, but not this time.

I’m looking forward to getting a few iPads up on the floor in the pharmacists hands. The interest level along with the ease of carrying the device might make it useful. Only time will tell.

There are some images below if you’re interested.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Quick update: Pharmacy iPad use

6 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Does the Citrix Receiver also get around the multi-tasking complaint that the ipad seems to get? Does the virtual office support running multiple programs at once? Seems like a sweet setup. I finally decided to get an ipod touch 3 for pharmacy school rotations and a week later the ipad stopped being “just rumors”. Keep up the good work!

  2. Jerry Fahrni says:

    That’s a great question, Charles. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it in the post.

    Yes, the Citrix Receiver allows multiple apps to be open at once inside the virtual desktop. The iPad is simply acting as a window to the virtual desktop, which is sitting on one of the servers over in the IT department. I had multiple apps along with some web based drug info open at the same time yesterday when I was showing it to one of the pharmacists.

    Another neat little caveat is that the Citrix client offers a username/password manager that offers single-sign-on capabilities. In other words, when I open the pharmacy app I’m automatically logged in when I’m inside Citrix on the iPad.

    The desktop is also potable. As soon as I log in somewhere else, the client kicks me out of the iPad and brings my session in progress to the machine I’m logging into. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly worth playing with.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Brent says:

    Is the iPad used solely for accessing patient and drug information or do you use the iPad for data entry also? I would be interested in using the iPad upstairs, as long as data entry is still feasible. I currently am running order entry using a 2 monitor system- 1 for the pharmacy program and the other for the scanned order image. Thanks for the article!

  4. Jerry Fahrni says:

    Hey Brent – We can use them for data entry, but only in a pinch. They just don’t work well for that purpose. I’m accustomed to using a dual monitor setup like you and would hate to think of the iPad as my only way of entering orders.

  5. [...] And at a pharmacy in California dating back to last year, a pharmacist who specializes in technology integration blogged about his colleagues integrating iPads into their work. [...]

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