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Why Surface works for me. Dr. Brian Keeffe, Cardiologist

Written By published March 13, 2015

My name is Brian Keeffe, and I am a cardiologist in Northern California. As a forward-thinking physician, I’m continually introduced to new technology.  About four months ago, Allscripts (my electronic health record provider) introduced me to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 when they asked me to test the new Windows-based version of their application. 

I approached the Surface Pro 3 as I would any new piece of hardware.  Initially, I was actually only testing the software application.  However, during the course of my testing, I soon discovered that the Surface could do much more for my daily life as a physician—increasing my productivity and improving my visits with patients both in and out of the hospital.

I now utilize my Surface Pro 3 in many ways to improve my daily workflow:

  • I use it in the exam room as I engage with my patients. With my Surface, I am able to investigate all of the clinical data available to me while sitting face-to-face with my patients and maintaining eye contact. With its built-in kickstand, I use the device in my lap at an angle where my content is readable—but low enough not to interfere with my patient engagement. I use my Surface to take a clinical picture of new patients for identification in their chart. I am also able to easily show patients medical data and images to more clearly educate them on their cardiovascular conditions.
  • When patients have conditions that I think would be appropriate to document with a photograph, I use the Surface to take the picture, which imports instantaneously into their chart. 
  • With the Surface docking station, I am able to easily use my device as a full desktop computer connected to multiple monitors, keyboards, mice and other peripherals.  In this setup, I can do all of my charting, voice recognition and administrative work during the day on the Surface.   
  • I have many administrative duties at work, and the Surface provides me with easy access to my full Microsoft Outlook inbox.  Therefore, I can continue to help advance my clinic between patient visits. 
  • One of the issues that I used to face was the requirement to login and logout of multiple healthcare applications and shared devices during the day.  Even a single patient visit in the hospital might require me to log into five separate software applications. With my Surface at hand, I am now able to quickly move from nurse station to nurse station, keeping all of my applications open on my device. Over the course of a day in the hospital, this improvement alone can save me minutes to even hours of time. 
  • When I travel, I don’t have to carry both a tablet and laptop.  With my Surface, I have both a very capable tablet and computer with me at all times. 

Because of its light weight and thin profile, many colleagues are surprised that my Surface is a surprisingly very fast and very capable full PC.  In reality, my Surface Pro 3 is better than all the desktop computers I have access to in my office or in the hospital!

Most importantly, my Surface Pro 3 has helped me get back more of my most valuable resource: time.  Whereas I used to walk out of the office with a fifth of my charts done, I’m entering the data on my Surface throughout the day as I’m meeting with my patients. As a result, I am able to see more patients…and still have more time with my family at the end of the day. 

The Surface Pro 3 has definitely made a positive change in my daily workflow. I continued to find new ways for it to make me more efficient.  I would highly recommend it to other physicians. 

Brian Keeffe, M.D. – Cardiology

Marin General Hospital, California