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HIMSS16 – moment of awakening for more clinical mobility, fewer devices, less fragmentation

· Si Luo,

HIMSS 2016, just like the HIMSS before it, was sprawling, dizzying, and exciting. While the trend of most vendors sounding the same continues (one booth visitor told us that if you take everyone’s logo off, they look and sound awfully similar), the health systems and hospital providers community seem to get savvier and more diligent every year. This was a particularly meaningful year for us at PatientSafe with unprecedented traffic, focus, and targeted interest around the need for reducing fragmentation at point-of-care, creating a more purposeful clinical mobility strategy, and defining what mobile needs to deliver on in the post-EHR era.

HIMSS 2016 PatientSafe Solutions boothThrough exhibit conversations, networking and many educational sessions, we noticed that the strategy behind clinical mobility is changing. Until recently, organizations have been preoccupied with equipping their clinicians with more devices for communications while struggling with fragmentation of end user experience when performing clinical tasks at the bedside. Now, the strategy is shifting to one of consolidation, integration, and engagement. The market is seeking for a single, unified, end-user mobility experience and a clinically-integrated platform that can scale across the inpatient care team, multiple physician profiles, as well as post-acute care networks. Those who look for secured communications solutions aren’t satisfied with the lack of clinical workflow integration and complexity in managing assignment, roles, and tasks. Those who attempted to adopt early mobile clinical workflow solutions often struggle with lack of architectural maturity and poor user adoption of existing solutions from core vendors.

This was a major theme at our HIMSS breakfast panel: “Empowering Clinicians with Smartphone Technology,” which featured PatientSafe customers with Epic, Meditech, Cerner, and Allscripts EHR footprints as well as Cisco, Avaya, ShoreTel telephony/network infrastructures. Their experiences in creating a mobility strategy that spans across the need for access, context, and action generated significant resonance with a room of 85 health systems IT and clinical leaders. Attendees were shocked at how creating a single, unified, clinical mobility platform for their institutions’ evolving needs is now possible with PatientTouch and that they don’t need to invest in multiple applications just to enable and integrate end-to-end collaboration workflows. This general trend continues to be propelled by latest advances in interoperability as a whole industry. Many left the panel believing that evaluating mobile as a platform consideration vs. a best-of-breed or “add-on” consideration is the new strategic frame of reference to be discussed with their teams.

Mobile essential for efficiency

From a practical impact and user experience perspective, several of our panelists and attendees described how juggling multiple devices for clinical communications—a pager, VoIP phone and walkie-talkie—wasn’t sustainable. We also heard that the addition of the EHR to clinical workflows wasn’t helping with communications either because the workstations were rarely where clinicians needed them for effective, real-time collaboration.

The consensus at our event was that clinicians end up using their personal smartphones to efficiently communicate with the care team, which is risky to the hospital’s data and the patient’s privacy. Our panelists described how switching from multiple devices to a strategy of mobility for clinical communications and performing clinical tasks at the bedside has eliminated that risk and delivered numerous other benefits. Communication and care team collaboration are more efficient and effective because all the messages are centralized and integrated to one device. Patient care is safer and higher quality because more useful data is available at the point-of-care to support clinical decision-making.

We expect that at next year’s HIMSS conference there will be even more organizations discussing how replacing multiple devices with a single smart point-of-care mobile solution was a decision they should have made years ago. We couldn’t agree more.


Learn how Director, Nursing Informatics from NewYork-Presbyterian leveraged the hospital’s smartphone solution to improve specimen collection compliance and reduce duplicative laboratory errors, click below.

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