Demand Driven Health Care IT Innovation is Alive and Well!

I had the opportunity to participate in the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) conference on mHealth in Seattle yesterday. The core theme for this iHT2 conference was all about use of mobile solutions on smart phones, tablets, and other devices in the health care world.

Physicians Want Mobile Access The one overriding take away for me was that demand from physicians AND patients for mobile access to health care information is driving a frenzy of discussions, prototypes, and yes, real production strength system. Physicians in particular are demanding access to their systems via the mobile tools
pervading all other parts of their lives. They are asking questions like, “Why do I have to go find a desktop to get this information?” or “You want to get my email, text messages, and phone calls on this device, why can’t you let me get to the information so I can RESPOND and do my job?”

Patient Record App I was very impressed with the Palomar Pomerado Health systems’ mHealth application. Dr. Ben Kantor, Chief Medical Information Officer, and Orland Portale, Chief Innovation Officer, showed me their Android-based patient record application. This very cool app enables a physician to see a patient’s record, recent test results such as EKG or radiology, and enables video-based communication. Pomerado selected CISCO’s new Android-based tablet not only due to its compact form factor, pervasiveness of the operating system, but also based on the reasoning that CISCO is an enterprise-product company and the tablet has arrived.

Teleburn Services Another amazing example showing how very common technology coupled with some smart management can address the “technology deficit” in health care. Lehigh Valley Health Services is a leader in telehealth services and I had a chance to talk to Joe Tracy, VP of TeleHealth Services. Joe lead the development of a very successful teleBurn service that combined mobile-based communication with JPEG based digital imagery to allow a remote burn surgeon to readily provide patient care information to an attending physician. Simple, effective, and it made a HUGE impact. Joe said instead of routinely life-flighting patients to the major burn center, a significant number of patients stayed put at the remote facility and received the same level of care FASTER. Clearly, providing better patient results and saving significant money.

Ways to Meet Technology Demands As technology managers, we have to meet this demand for mobile solutions. If we don’t, our clients will find a way around us and then “give us” a solution to maintenance. So, find out if your electronic medical record (EMR) vendor is planning a mobile solution. If not, demand it. If it is in the works, offer to beta test it. If you don’t have an EMR, think about gathering a small, fast moving team to put together some simple physician information apps on an Android or Apple device SOON. Start small with simple items like calendars, schedules, and simple patient history. Ask what the 3 most important information elements your clients need via mobile and try to get at least ONE of them fast. This will show your clients you are responding and this first small step could be the “tipping point” to get a much more pervasive mHealth solution going.

How are you working to keep up with the latest in mobile healthcare?

-Rick Jennings, vRad Chief Technology Officer

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