New Mobile Devices for Healthcare

Smartphones and tablets facilitate communication, patient education, and efficient workflow.

What's in Your Pocket?

As hospitals implement electronic health record (EHR) and computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems, healthcare professionals in clinical settings can access a wealth of information via mobile devices ranging from PCs to tablets and smartphones. Many are using these tools as an extension of EMR and CPOE systems, significantly improving clinical workflow efficiency.

Doctors can view patient records, write prescriptions, and check messages while walking between exam rooms. Nurses can quickly capture progress notes without disrupting interaction with patients and make information instantly available to other caregivers. Office staff can access and share paperless forms from registration through discharge—regardless of where the information was collected—in a secure environment that ensures patient privacy.

Physicians who work primarily in outpatient settings are moving into the digital era too. Eventually outpatient practices will become computer-based, and physicians will have multiple computers and mobile devices in their offices.

Total Mobile Access

Smartphones can also facilitate workflow and communication among the members of a healthcare team. Physicians can take advantage of short message service (SMS) or internal messaging platforms, and nurses can send brief messages to physicians instead of relying on alphanumeric pagers.

Accelerating Care

Smartphones can also facilitate workflow and communication among the members of a healthcare team. Physicians can take advantage of Short Message Service (SMS) or internal messaging platforms, and nurses can send brief messages to physicians instead of relying on alphanumeric pagers.

Where Tablets Work Well

Potential applications for tablets in healthcare lie under the broad categories of hospital IT and practice management. They include EHRs, CPOE, and electronic medication administration records (eMARs), radiological information systems (RIS), and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS).

Tablet PCs can be used in a range of other activities like registering patients and obtaining medical histories, appointment scheduling, billing capture and insurance claims processing, managing specimens, entering pharmaceutical and lab orders, image review and consultation, home health visits, and in EMT response units.

Selecting Tablet Computers

Besides a wide selection of compatible medical software, certain features are very important to healthcare professionals and can facilitate tablet rollouts in hospitals and clinics. On this list are integrated WiFi and solid WiFi access; resistance to dust, hospital fluids, and disinfectants (sealed ports); built-in fingerprint user authentication for HIPAA compliance; barcode scanning; and an integrated camera and RFID reader.

Healthcare providers prefer devices that are thin, lightweight and easy to carry, with screen size and brightness matched to the application so that screens are viewable under fluorescent lights or in operating rooms. Speech recognition capable of accurate medical dictation and availability of a thin client version are also desirable.

Patient Education

Smartphones and tablets offer an impactful way to educate patients. For example, a physician could recommend a particular app to a patient with diabetes and demonstrate it at the point of care using his smartphone.

Showing patients rich media 3D animations in a physician's office or at their bedside helps caregivers explain conditions and treatments, alleviating patients' concerns and answering questions more effectively.

Mobile Health Security

Devices like smartphones and tablets that fit into coat pockets create attractive targets for thieves. When these devices store patient data locally, theft equals a data breach. Perform a risk analysis before implementing mobile technology, and create and enforce sound employee policies that prevent improper information sharing. Security should be simple yet effective. If a password is too hard to remember—or figure out in the first place—employees and patients will not use it or they will create workarounds.

When texting or emailing patients about routine care matters such as upcoming appointments, tests, or prescription refills, the secure HIPAA-compliant method is to keep the message free of protected health information. Simply state "Your doctor has an important message for you at …", and refer them to a secure Web link where they can log on to get specifics. Sensitive information is not stored on a phone that can be hacked or lost.

Two-factor, bidirectional authentication, such as checking a password and token at both the device level and the server level helps secure protected information.

Mobility Matters

Whether you need mobile medical carts, tablets, barcoding, or RFID solutions, Connection can design innovative and effective systems tailored to fit your environment.

The number of tools available to physicians and clinicians to gather healthcare information at the point of care has greatly increased with the evolution of powerful devices and mainstream use of mobile technology. Do you have the right tools to go mobile?

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Account Executive at 1-800-369-1047