Mobile solutions that support our clinical (and life) workflow

There are more mobile devices than there are people on the planet. Many of us look at our phones more than 70 times a day. We bring them with us everywhere we go – to the movies, to our children’s soccer games and to work.

Many of us even have work environments that allow us to ‘bring your own device.’ If that is not an option, our work devices (thankfully!) are looking more and more like our personal devices. And in healthcare, we are now successfully addressing challenges to building mobile healthcare solutions that support our natural use and knowledge of these devices in our life flow.

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The Evolution of Health IT

Health IT is often considered a silent partner in healthcare – not seen by patients, but a critical part of the system. As we celebrate National Health IT Week, it’s important to realize that although health IT already has a long history, the constant and rapid evolution of this space continues to transform the market. Information has been collected and stored for years, but the promise of clinical decision support has us at the cusp of all this information becoming valuable in new and innovative ways.

Just a decade ago, I was documenting patient encounters in paper charts. Although the transition to electronic medical records (EMRs) has been perceived as slow, in the grand scheme of medicine it actually happened almost overnight. These systems were not designed with our continuously changing workflow in mind, with user interfaces and workflows that aligned to our practices. They served as repositories for patient information, but did little else. In fact, our workflow changed to support the EMR, sometimes to the detriment of the patient. Instead of focusing directly on the patient, we often must split our time and attention between the patient and the computer terminal.

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Cerner/Siemens and Blue Shield/Blue Cross: What Happens Next?

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The industry is buzzing over the news that Cerner is buying the health information technology business unit of Siemens. The Siemens acquisition is the most recent high-profile example of consolidation that is taking place in all sectors of healthcare.

The consolidation trend is not new, of course. Providers reacted first, by aligning as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and clinical integration (CI) networks during the past five years. Then the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) accelerated the need for collaboration, forcing providers to acquire additional acute care and post-acute care facilities as well as physicians’ offices. This consolidation trend was the first to expose the obvious lack of interoperability amongst vendors.

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The Key to Success: Maximizing Information Technology

mitcon-photo01fullAs we gear up for HIMSS at the end of this month, we tend to think back to who has been dominating the healthcare conversations over the past several years. The answer is obvious: EMR vendors. Meaningful Use guidelines have been driving towards the adoption of EMRs and encouraging clinicians to adopt technologies to enhance patient care. But these tools are transactional, not transformative. For an industry that is cutting edge in so many ways, we’ve struggled to successfully crack the code with informational technology. Customers are constantly telling me that we need to find ways to make the data work for us, to improve healthcare.

As new technologies and the BYOD trend have worked their way into hospitals and health systems, we’ve begun to find patterns in what is necessary to launch successful programs. The key? Ease of use for clinicians and clear benefits to patient care.

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Looking to 2014: Digging into Big Data

big-data-healthcareIt’s hard to remember a time when Big Data wasn’t all the rage; it’s harder still to believe that we’ve barely reached the tip of the iceberg with its potential. The healthcare industry has made strides with managing the patient data it’s collecting, yet there’s still so much more that both providers and their vendor partners can be doing to leverage Big Data to improve patient care. While we’ve established a foothold, here’s where I think we’re heading next year.

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Looking to 2014: Taking Healthcare to Task

2014-predictions-300x300All the mainstream chatter and media coverage around healthcare this year covers up the fact that there is little real action and few success stories to point to. Expect 2014 to be the year that the industry gets taken to task on several key issues:

  • On risk – The big headline is going to be the relative lack of traction for risk-based models. For all the talk about the benefits, the incentive is still in place for hospital systems to continue to leverage or create structural advantage in marketplaces – allowing them to pass along rates to payers and protect margins. This shift in models will not happen until hospitals and health systems have maxed out their OPEX savings and consumers are outraged enough with insurance costs to run to Kaiser-like models. Continue reading

Partnering for the Future of Healthcare

health-careFor hospitals and health systems to achieve the value of their EMR investments, they must be able to deliver information to the point of care and ultimately the point of making a difference with patients – whether the clinician is at the bedside, down the hall, in the office or at home. Industry paradigms like health system consolidation and the physicians shortage mean that clinicians will be increasingly mobile, relying on personal devices for the information they need to provide quality care.

What we know today is getting information into the hands of clinicians in the right place at the right time isn’t going to be easy. That’s why in July, Microsoft was pleased to announce that AirStrip will be the first mHealth company to be part of the Microsoft Apps For Surface program. Innovative leadership like AirStrip’s is essential to overcoming the challenges of mobile healthcare such as like compliance, regulations and interoperability.

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