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Tablets can help our hospital patients safely connect with their providers and family

Consider donating an iPad to our new program
Using an iPad in the ER
Think of how vital it is to keep germs from spreading in an emergency room. Think of how many times nurses and doctors go in and out of a room to talk to a hospitalized patient. Think of how much you want friends and family at your side when you’re sick.

The COVID-19 virus outbreak has challenged us to find new ways of serving those needs. That’s why we’ve begun using iPads to give patients the ability to video chat from their beds. But we’re far short of having enough.

With the extra level of protection a video chat provides, an ER doctor can assess a patient with no risk of exposing themselves to the virus or carrying it to the next patient. We’ve also used an iPad in the ER when a dying patient couldn’t otherwise have all their family members present for a conference about end-of-life care.

“It’s hard to social distance in an exam room,” said Susan Pleasants, who’s leading the program as Associate Chief Medical Informatics Officer for M Health Fairview. “In an ideal state, we’d have an iPad in every room, because any patient could have COVID-19. Right now, we’re using them with known or suspected cases.”

The program was first piloted at Bethesda Hospital, which we’ve dedicated to caring for the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. “The patients there have really liked it,” Dr. Pleasants said. “It’s much less sterile than talking to them through the door. It’s much more like in-person care when we can pop our face on the screen.”

And every time a nurse, doctor, or interpreter can check on a patient or answer their questions by video, that saves the scarce supply of masks and other protective gear.

Last week we distributed a limited supply of iPads to some emergency rooms. Starting Monday, we began sending some to our hospitals caring for people under investigation for COVID-19.

“We have some on back order, but so far we’ve haven’t been able to get more,” Dr. Pleasants said. “Donations are potentially the fastest way to get them before the surge.”

With your donation, we could put an iPad in every ER exam room and hospital room for every patient to stay connected to their providers and family – even if they don’t have COVID-19.

“We had a patient a week ago who was elderly and afraid he wasn’t going to be able to see his wife again. He needed something like this,” said Genevieve Melton-Meaux, Chief Analytics and Care Innovation Officer. “It’s hard right now.”

Models accepted
  • Standard iPad 5th Generation, models A1822 and A1823
  • Standard iPad 6th Generation, models A1893 and A1954
  • Standard iPad 7th Generation, models A2197, A2200 and A2198
  • iPad Air 3, models A2152, A2123, A2153, A2154
  • iPad Mini 5th Generation, models A2133, A2124, A2126, A2125
  • Any iPad Pro
How to donate
  • The iPad needs to be in good working condition, have no cracks in the screen and preferably come with a power cable or other power supply.
  • Please wipe your device of all data. We are not responsible for data remaining on it.
  • Fill out this form and bring it with you.
  • iPad stands and cases are also welcome.
Where to donate: Drop off your device at the M Health Fairview Midway office main entrance, 1700 University Ave. W., St. Paul, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.