A few weeks ago I sent out an email to MEDLIB-L asking for librarians who are circulating iPads to contact me off list to answer some questions. I was really killing about 3 birds with one stone. Not only did iMedicalApps want me to write a story about libraries loaning iPads, but I wanted to investigate the idea for our library, and I wanted to share the information for others on this blog.
A lot of librarians got back to me and I want to thank everyone who responded.
Here are some links about current library loaning projects:
Sampling of library policies:
Sampling of general apps loaded on iPads:
- Adobe Photoshop Express
- Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote)
- Dolphin Browser
- Google Search
- iAnnotate PDF
- PDF Expert
- Podcasting 4 Education
- Print Central for iPad
- Sekai Camera for iPad
- Whiteboard HD
Sampling of medical apps loaded on iPads:
- 3D STem Cell Simulation & Strain Tool
- AHRQ ePSS
- AIDSInfo HIV/AIDS Glossary
- Davis’s Drug Guide
- Dragon Dictation
- Eye Chart Pro
- Health Hotlines
- Human Anatomy!
- Improve Bleeding Risk Tool
- Improve VTE Associative Model
- MedPage Today
- Mobile REMM (Radiation Emergency Medical Management)
- Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D
- NEJM This Week
- Skyscape Medical Resources
Sample of medical library type apps loaded:
(Some overlap with above list. I think some maybe bookmarks not necessarily apps)
- Annals of Oncology
- Annual Reviews
- Clinical Pharmacology
- First Consult
- Health Hotlines
- Mary Ann Liebert Journals
- Natural Standard
- PLoS Medicine
- Procedures Consult
- PubMed (unclear whether PubMed Mobile or for Handhelds)
- PubMed Clip
- RefWorks Mobile
- Science Direct
- Skyscape Medical Resources
Loan rules vary from a few hours to a few days. Most libraries reset the devices to factory standards for security and privacy reasons. Although a few librarians have reported that some apps “remember” despite this and are looking into more. I was unable to find many hospital libraries that loan out iPads.
Secure Network and EMR
Additionally few hospitals or medical school responded that their iPads were also able to access the EMR. Mayo Clinic’s iPads can access the EMR as well as the devices used by residents at the NSU residency program at Palmetto Hospital. As we are looking into our own iPad program we discovered that our devices must have specific Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALs) to software necessary to access the secure network (and the EMR). For us, the CALs add quite a bit to the cost of the iPad, about $200 more. You pay per device. So each regular 16 GB WiFi only iPad3 that normally costs $499 ends up costing $799 once you factor in the cost of the CAL’s and AppleCare+ (2 yr insurance on the device for $100). We feel it is essential to get on the secure network so the extra cost of the CALs is something we have to plan for. Working with IT has been essential in this process, without them we would not have known of the requirement to get the iPads on the secure network. While the cost of the CALs was a surprise, I am glad we had IT help so that it was a surprise in the beginning/planning stages not after we bought them.
Both libraries who loan iPads and those who don’t are providing lists of mobile friendly (and tablet friendly) library apps and websites. Things are bit like the Wild West with apps and mobile sites. Some library vendors mobile friendly sites require secondary authentication (using their own personal login) despite being on institutional network. Some vendors are creating apps when really a mobile friendly site is all that is needed. Apps often require a username and password to use regardless of whether they are on institutional network. Some apps are intended for individual subscribers NOT institutional subscribers, and unless the wording explicitly states that, it is confusing.
Regarding medical apps (not medical library apps like databases), library purchase (or not) policies are varried as well. Some libraries have accounts on iTunes to buy apps in bulk, while others just load devices with free apps that people might need. Some have said that they do not buy specific medical apps because the iPads are circulated to eveyone and that would mean a lot of different subject specific apps that would need to be on the device. Some librarians also spoke about the need to constantly update the apps, especially the free apps. In order for the pre-installed library “owned” apps to be updated, somebody must log in using the library install account to update them. Some mentioned this could be time consuming depending on how many they have loaded.
Many libraries seem to allow people to load their own apps on the loaned devices. The reason is that the app follows the patron not the library. So when the library restores the iPad to factory settings the app disappears from the library device, but the patron still retains ownership and can install it on another iPad.
Other thoughts and suggestions
Start off with a few iPads then grow if/as needed.
Tie the iPads into the curriculum, load medical bookmarks/apps, or get them on the secure network, in other words make them relevant for work. One library reported they bought iPads but really didn’t have a budget for apps and most already had smartphones and laptops so the iPad was more fun than productive.
Many people said that their patrons often did a try before you buy with the library iPads. Not sure how some feel about this given how expensive of an investment the devices are, but part of me knows they already do this with our textbooks.
Barcode and label EVERYTHING! Some librarians reported their patrons trying to swap out their old frayed Apple charging cables by passing them off as the library’s cables.
Get a bag and a cover for the iPad. Cover helps protects the device while in use. The bag makes it easier to hold all of the stuff (charger, forms, etc.) for circulation AND not everyone who use the device have lab coats and it is nice to just put in a shoulder bag.
I hope this is helpful to others who currently are lending iPads and to those looking to start. Feel free to comment if you have more information or questions.