The situation that many IT people find themselves in today is dripping with irony. They’ve deployed so many innovations over the years to address so many business challenges, that now most of their time is dedicated to simply keeping their systems running. Without incremental resources during these lean budget times, their new innovation cycles decline in direct proportion to their past innovations.
Given the current budget realities, how can IT break out of this innovation trap?
From peeking at Brittany Spears medical records to the theft of almost five million medical records from a tape back-up, no healthcare issue garners more adverse publicity, or passion, than violations of patient privacy. While you might expect that since the institution of HIPAA and quarter million dollar fines that this is relatively uncommon now, you would be wrong. A stunning incidence of nearly 18 million breaches of privacy has occurred over the past two years according to a recent report from ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. That is equivalent to the population of the states of Florida or New York.
As the world moves towards adoption of Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchanges, concern for the vulnerability of private health information is escalating as the scale of these data breaches reach epic proportions. A West Coast health care system experienced the theft of electronic health information for 4 million of its patients. And another major academic medical center inadvertently disclosed the electronic health records of 20,000 of its patients. The risks are real and global. And they leave an organization -- any organization -- subject to severe legal and financial damage, not to mention the damage to their reputation. None of these organizations were cavalier about their security compliance. But let’s face it, the workforce is larger and more mobile. The data is more prolific and ubiquitous and takes on many different forms. And the thieves are getting more sophisticated.
But so are the solutions. In the past, it was necessary to balance mobility with security-the more mobile, the less secure. Not anymore. Cisco’s AnyConnect combines industry-leading Cisco cloud and premises-based web security and next generation remote access technology to deliver the most robust and secure enterprise mobility solution on the market today.
One major topic at this year’s HIMSS 2012 Conference, was accountable care programs. As January 1, 2012 marked the initial period for healthcare organizations to start the application process to become eligible for Accountable Care Organization status there was much debate about whether or not ACOs could improve healthcare while reducing costs.
The coordinated care provided by an Accountable Care Organization can help ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, with the goal of avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.
Oh, how I wish tablets were around when I was providing patient care as a Registered Nurse on a busy surgical floor! I had a legion of patients, and masses of information to find and remember ‘in the moment.’ It seemed like I could never find the person or the equipment I needed fast enough.
Sometimes, the most practical option was to take pen to paper (or to my scrubs) to jot down a note, and then go find the information I needed in a chart, the EHR, or reference once I got back to the nurses station. Could I have delivered more timely, efficient and safer care if I had access to the information and data I needed at the patient’s bedside? You bet I could, and here’s how!
Tablets provide information access at one’s fingertips – especially at the patient bedside – helping doctors and nurses to render quick, safe and sometimes lifesaving care. This is echoed in Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports calling for direct care providers to have quick access to electronic references. Moreover, up to 70% of sentinel events in healthcare are caused by poor communications, according to a Joint Commission study (1995-2006). Given these findings, tablets offer a new and improved way to ensure patient safety because up-to-the-minute information and immediate communication is readily available where and when needed.
Tablets help save time by increasing mobility and productivity, reducing errors and keeping information readily accessible within the clinician’s reach.
Come on clinicians … no mater if you are a doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, case manager, educator or another team member … surely you can think of all kinds of ways tablets could enable you to have the information you need when you need it. You and your patients will be all the happier and satisfied for it.
I quickly came up with a short list of ways that tablets, one of several mobile devices, can make a difference for patient care delivery:
Workflow efficiencies by having access to information and data at the point of care
Real-time communication amongst team members while in different locations
BCMA and real-time drug interaction checking … possibility for a real-time pharmacy consult at the patient’s bedside via voice or video conferencing
My questions to you: Have you used a tablet to deliver patient care? If so, what has been your experience – is the tablet adding real value, or is it just “another toy”?