Apple iPad Prepares Nurse Practitioner for House Calls

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2011-08-11 Print this article Print

title=The Power of Technology} 

eWEEK: On the iPad, can you track information such as blood glucose levels and blood pressure?

Lawson-Baker: Yes, I can track all of that from each visit that I make. I can pull up the last visit, the one I made three months ago, the one I made last year, and it all shows up in a nice little graph. They can see chronologically what the progress has been, whether it's been positive or negative regarding their blood pressure, blood sugar or any other lab work.

eWEEK: What was your experience like during Hurricane Katrina?

Lawson-Baker: Before Hurricane Katrina I was a tech geek, but after Hurricane Katrina I was really a tech geek, because I actually saved my practice from literally being destroyed, my paperwork and all my patient documents because I had 100 patients stored on my PDA, my PalmPilot. I synched with my main computer before I left, when we were told to evacuate. But of course the city was underwater, so we couldn't get back.

And when I returned, everything was gone, so all I had was my information on my PDA. I was able to get up and running and seeing patients as soon as we returned in October 2005, whereas most of the hospitals couldn't even get started and a lot of physician offices and other nurse practitioners were pretty much... they couldn't do anything because they didn't have their patient information. But I at least had my patient information stored and was ready to go.

I returned in October 2005. I had a PalmPilot and a Pocket PC. One was my backup, so most of my data was stored on my Pocket PC. I had some on my PalmPilot, but the majority of it was on my Pocket PC.

I realized the power of technology once I returned. People take it for granted as far as how technology can be beneficial to the health arena. I don't think people realize how important technology can be to your practice until, unfortunately, something like Hurricane Katrina occurs.

I learned firsthand how helpful and timely [technology] can be. I was just thinking, OK, time to evacuate again. I just kind of haphazardly grabbed my Pocket PC. I'm glad I did have it because while I was in San Antonio, I had to correspond with patients and their physicians who were all out of town, trying to find out what medicines these patients were on. I was able to give them some data from my PocketPC. I was at least able to tell them the medicines, give them emergency contacts, let them know when their last mammogram was. It was very helpful once I evacuated, and certainly once I returned to the city I could pretty much just get up and running because I had most of my records with me, even though my office was destroyed.

eWEEK: How long were you away from home?

Lawson-Baker: Three months. We wanted to come back sooner and hit the ground running. I wasn't sure what I was going to be doing. I was just as shell-shocked as everybody else, but I knew I had to get back.


Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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