At Vanguard Health Systems, our vision for mobility is focused on streamlining and optimizing workflow, consistently advancing best practices and ultimately achieving measurable outcomes improvement across the full care continuum.
We first dipped our toes into the mHealth waters some seven years ago by implementing mobile patient monitoring in labor and delivery in one of our markets. mHealth enabled safer, more effective maternal-fetal care and was well-received by our physicians. In a number of cases, obstetricians are using mobile devices to intervene successfully in a patient’s care from remote locations.
Following this experience, we started to move toward mobilizing our cardiology service line in this same market. When treating patients with cardiac disease – whether it is chest pain, acute MI or congestive heart failure – time is of the essence. Enabling our physicians with mobile access to minute-by-minute information improves their care processes and ability to effectively treat patients.
We’re now exploring the integration of mobility across the care continuum. We believe that mobility can strengthen our ability to deliver state-of-the-art, clinically-coordinated, integrated and evidence-based care. We believe an mHealth strategy focused on outcomes and population health can support the shift to value-based care.
For those considering taking the plunge into mHealth I offer a few thoughts:
- Examine how your mobility strategy would interface with other technologies enterprise-wide, especially in a multi-market system with several EHR vendors. Mobile technology should enable effective interaction across all systems. Think big and assemble the mHealth components that encourage the strongest possible results. Here at Vanguard, we are partnered with several different vendors, including McKesson, Cerner and Meditech, so have clear interoperability challenges to overcome.
- Build a patient-centric mobile strategy. Mobile solutions should be adoptable and meet the workflow demands of the busy clinician. But it’s not all about physician convenience. A user-friendly experience that complements clinical workflow helps ensure clinicians are using their mobile tools most effectively. When building a mobile strategy, keep in mind the ultimate goal is to improve patient care.
- Thoroughly understand your process of care and specific pain points. In other words, don’t buy a technology solution and then try to adopt it, because it looks cool or sounds good. Rely on use cases to help you understand where you need help first, then seek out the solutions that can help solve those challenges. Only then can mobility most effectively strengthen workflows across the care continuum.
To my fellow CMOs: while you should look carefully before leaping into mobility, the sea change in healthcare to value-base models increasingly means that mobility is no longer an accessory, but is rapidly becoming a must-have.
Dr. Mark Montoney is Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Vanguard Health Systems, Inc.
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