A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that NHS Tayside spent £200,000 on iPads and smartphones from April 2011 to December 2014.
According to the data requested, 200 iPads worth £94,000 were purchased, as well as 400 smartphones at £97,500 – an average of £470 per iPad and £243.75 per smartphone.
While some MSPs have criticised the move, claiming that patients will question the necessity of spend such an amount on technology, the Trust itself and other MSPs have supported the move.
“Clinicians use mobile devices at the bedside to access clinical apps. We are also using mobile devices in the community, with nursing teams able to access records while in the patient’s home,” claimed NHS Tayside director of eHealth Jenny Bodie.
“iPads are used in the children’s ward to distract children from potentially painful or distressing treatments.
“As well as being extremely mobile, iPads and smartphones are a secure way of working, with all connections made through the NHS Tayside secure wireless network,” she added.
NHS Tayside has also claimed that its spend on mobile technology represents its commitment to reducing the use of paper.
MSP Neil Findlay, Labour health spokesman, is among the MSPs who support the Trust’s decision to invest in iPads and smartphones.
However, he says while technology can be used to improve conditions in hospitals, it is important to remember higher staffing levels would be a bigger positive.
“We must be sure this money is being spent for the right reasons. We should be clear that technology developments in healthcare have dramatically enhanced the experience of patients in hospitals, but there is no substitution for human interaction,” claimed Findlay.