Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hospital Technologies – Far Ahead, Yet Far Behind?

As I sat in the kids cancer unit of the hospital in NYC last week (I work with Candlelighters NYC) I looked around and quickly became disappointed at what it had to offer on the personal technology side. How can we be as advanced as we are with medical technology yet so far behind in catering to the human needs? Is this element being forgotten in the hospital especially in a kids unit where it could be so beneficial? Is it an afterthought?

Let me explain…

Particularly in the cancer floor kids come from all over the world and in many cases are back and forth for years. In many cases they are lucky to have housing at the Ronald McDonald House but as you can imagine its not always easy to fly in both parents and brothers and sisters.

I was recently visiting one of my favorites and it wasn’t long before I realized how just a little tech could better his situation.

Kids are familiar with tech – they know the ins and outs and like to be around it. It’s second nature to them. A perfect example of this is the iPad. The little boy I was visiting’s parents were given one and it appeared to be a nice thing to have around. It was loaded with kid’s apps and he loved to go in it and play with ones like Marble Mixer and Talking Larry. For a second I realized how great of a distraction it was. All the cords, needles and beeping noises kind of disappeared when he was on it. I’ve noticed this with a lot of the other kids too! Every time I bring my iPad to hang out with the kids it’s a win. They love to play with the apps and YouTube!

Video chatting.

The particular family I am alluding to travels in monthly (for the past two years) and their daughter isn’t always able to make it. Coming and going appeared tough. They asked me about the iPad2 and video conferencing capabilities. Wow, how this would be beneficial to them in having their daughter virtually there!

But lets not assume everyone can buy an iPad2 especially with medical bills drastically high. Why can’t they have one of these in every room or at least have loan units for sign out and then sanitize the units with UV? And / or - why don’t these rooms come equipped with Smart enabled TVs with Skype access or even a Cisco Umi? Video chatting in a kids hospital room seems like a no brainer to me?

I am not a doctor and or am I trying to be a downer. However, I am someone that knows that bringing the right amount of good energies to a place can help immensely. Bringing in family members even virtually would be amazing and not hard with just a $499 iPad that could be passed around at the least. I’m going to be looking in to this in the next couple of months on both the company side and also the hospital side. Appreciate any thoughts.


  1. Great article! I agree with your sentiments, but I think the greatest threat to the hospital supplies industry is the emergence of affordable personal technologies that can take the place of their expensive but "OSHA-approved", "hospital standard" equipment. It would have to be Apple's or Cisco's responsibility to lobby the various government agencies or medical boards to be able to get their tech to those who need it most.

  2. Interesting thought - but you think these kinds of tech would really need to be hospital approved? Skype brought in laptops to a hospital in TX around Christmas time last year (wheeling them room to room) If you can bring in tech of your own whats the problem with a loaner laptop or tablet? Frustrating. Going to get to bottom of it.

  3. Contact the Starlight foundation. They accept donations that are used purchase entertainment consoles (wii/Playstations/xboxes) for children's hospitals. Make a suggestion to perhaps starting to supply iPads. The added feature of the camera and video conferencing along with the gaming aspects would definitely be something they would implement...

  4. See www.laptopsanytime.com for laptop/netbook/even tablet dispensing systems that could be set for nominal charge or even free by hospitals.

    So far stations are appearing in libraries, universities and hospitals.



Copyright © 2012 Katie Linendoll