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BioMedical Devices, Guest Services, IT Devices : Automate Me Please!

One of my cousins loves technology gadgets and is always tinkering with new widgets as soon as they hit the market. His affinity for gadgets started at an early age and continues to this day. He was one of the early adopters for products such as Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s XBox. This cousin of mine also happens to be a doctor and is always looking at ways of how he can tap into technology to deliver a better quality of patient care. During his rounds at the hospital, his trusted iPhone is always with him. His”advisor” is used for multiple tasks -from accessing patient records, to reciting patient notes via his Bluetooth headset, to accessing the internet to learn new ways of diagnosing patients. Few months ago we got into a discussion of how technology can dramatically improve the quality of patient care and clinician workflow throughout the continuum of care. Our conversation covered several areas from consumer products such as iPhones and Xbox to dedicated medical products such as biomedical devices (infusion pumps, patient monitors, EKG monitors) and PACs system. He recalled the early challenges of getting his iPhone to access patient records and the headaches it caused him to get it to working within the confinements of his hospital’s IT department. It was a long painful process that involved lot of conversations with his IT folks who rightfully so wanted to make sure that the appropriate security measures were in place before he could access patient records. One of the common requests that he gets from his patients is how they can access the internet or use their Xbox. He chuckles at it because that’s exactly what he would be requesting should he be a patient at a hospital. What happens when personal and corporate devices all need to be connected to the same hospital network?When our conversation moved to biomedical devices he made an interesting comment in that he sees more and more of these devices integrated with sophisticated technology but at the same time not being used to its fullest capabilities. He goes on to elaborate that while these biomedical devices have the capability to be mobile, they are not, as they are configured for a given patient room. If the devices need to be moved to a different location, it’s a long laborious process to get them working in the same exact manner. He sees a lot of inefficiencies in the way these biomed or even for that matter IT devices being deployed in the hospital’s infrastructure. After several conversations with healthcare customers and folks like my cousin, it’s pretty clear that technology does have a very important role to play in the healthcare arena. Today there are lots of inefficiencies in our healthcare system that leads to increased costs for everyone -the providers, payers, and payees. We need to find innovative ways to remove these inefficiencies that will eventually result in lower costs for all the involved parties, which in turn will lead to improved quality of patient care. Whether it’s IT devices such as PCs or printers, guest services, or biomedical devices -an innovative way to get these different end point devices on a hospital’s network in an automated fashion will go a long way to not only lower the cost structure, but ultimately result in improved patient care.

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