NZ's first iPad hospital ward

NZ's first iPad hospital ward

Hospital stays are about to get a whole lot more interesting for patients in Auckland.

North Shore Hospital is launching the country's first iPad ward.

One of the top patient complaints when stuck in a hospital bed is boredom.

At North Shore Hospital they've launched a trial to try to improve the experience, and it's going down well with patients.

"It's fantastic, I can look at the news, keep up with what's going on, I've checked my emails," says patient Sharron Botherway.

iPads, provided free to the hospital, are being installed on 28 beds in this general medical ward, helping patients pass the time.

"As well as providing people with entertainment options it's also a way for us to communicate with people in real time, for people to get access to clinical information at the bedside, so the plans for this are much bigger," says patient experience manager Waitemata District Health Board Jay O'Brien.

"I'm using it well at the moment, to catch up with my banking which I need to do and pay the bills, I'm trying to run my business while I'm here as well," says patient Ron Kendall.

And they could prove to be a useful tool for surgeons as well.

"It just makes consenting for surgery so much better because you can show videos right there and then and patients can ask questions about it, it means that they have a much greater understanding," says Surgeon Dr David Grayson.

In fact, patients are actually encouraged to consult Dr Google.

Added security means the iPads don't work outside of the ward, only certain apps and websites are accessible and they're reset between patients to ensure privacy.

Volunteers are helping answer any questions so doctors and nurses aren't overloaded.

If the pilot's successful it could be rolled out to each bed across Waitemata District Health Board.

And resetting the iPad between patients could become as routine as changing the beds.