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VA Rolls Out Tablets, Enables Telepresence On-the-Go

November 30, 2011 at 9:13 am PST

To ensure its facilities stay on the cutting edge of healthcare and technology, the federal government plans to purchase 100,000 tablet computing devices for its Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, according to Nextgov.

It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, as Fierce Mobile Healthcare notes in a recent story. Tablets represent the most current technology available, and their presence in a hospital lures medical students to fight for positions, as they perceive the technology as top-of-the-line, according to the article. The devices save hospitals money by preserving funds that would otherwise go towards more expensive PCs or laptops, and they save physicians time by streamlining documentation and administrative procedures, the article said.

There’s one more crucial thing a tablet brings with it to the hospital: telepresence. With telepresence at their fingertips, doctors can remotely follow-up on their patients, yet still see their patients “in person.” They can provide care to chronically ill patients living far from the hospital, review x-rays clearly and precisely, and access continuing education resources.

We’ve had the fortune of seeing the tablet in action at a healthcare facility. Palomar Pomerado Health in Southern California uses Cisco’s Cius tablet to enable physicians to access full patient histories anytime, anywhere. This access speeds the reporting of test results and the delivery of prescriptions and medications. Doctors also use the Cius to support Cisco TelePresence.

While there are security and other mobile device management issues to consider, both Apple- and Android- based applications are beginning to take these barriers into account and fine-tune security on their devices, according to Nextgov. The Cius, for example, built from the ground up with security in mind, has security functions in place at all levels, from the hardware to the network access and from enterprise access to mobile security.

With anytime access to telepresence, patient records, administrative tools, and more, the VA stands to greatly enhance its patient care as it evolves its technology to the tablet. Knowing confidential information remains secure with tablet technology, could your agency or office benefit from having telepresence and expanded network access on the go?

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