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news News Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Tuesday, April 10, 2018 3:53 PM - Tuesday, April 10, 2018 3:53 PM

Kids use iPads to share information with doctors

Kids use iPads to share information with doctors

Born with clubfoot, 12-year-old Thomas has made many trips from his home in Reno to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. But his visit to see orthopaedic surgeon Joel Lerman, M.D., this spring was different from the rest. When Thomas arrived for his clinic appointment, he was handed an iPad and asked to complete a short survey that appeared on the screen.

Putting iPads in patients’ hands is part of a project designed to promote positive patient outcomes. PROMIS as it is aptly called, stands for Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. It was launched at the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento roughly a year ago. Since then more than 2,000 patients have used the iPad to share information with their physicians. That number continues to grow.

This is how it works. While waiting to see the doctor, the patient completes a short survey on the iPad and then touches the “submit” button. This automatically enters the patient’s feedback into the electronic medical record, allowing the doctor to review the information before seeing the patient.

“PROMIS results give me a good idea of how a patient is doing before I enter the room. They also enable me to obtain important information consistently. I have noticed that adolescents are more willing to tell an iPad that they are struggling with peer relationships than to volunteer this information in response to in-person questioning. PROMIS has helped me uncover some issues that I would have otherwise missed,” said Michelle James, M.D., chief of orthopaedics.

Dr. James piloted PROMIS in the hand and upper extremity clinics. Since then, the innovative approach to gathering patient information has been rolled out into spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, cardiothoracic and other specialty clinics. More than 15 physicians at the Northern California Shriners Hospital now incorporate PROMIS into their practice. 

“PROMISing” studies

Orthopaedic surgeons and upper extremity specialists Michelle James, M.D., and Claire Manske, M.D., presented results of studies on how PROMIS scores are used in the treatment of children with conditions affecting the hand and upper limb at the World Symposium of Congenital Malformations of Hand and Upper Limb 2018 that took place in Hong Kong in March.

Doctors at the Northern California Shriners Hospital also are studying how information gleaned through PROMIS may be used to improve care for children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, clubfoot and other conditions.