Control costs with enterprise mobility in healthcare

Posted By Kristin Flandreau
Americas Business Group Lead

What does enterprise mobility mean to you? Many of us think of mobility as a small handheld computing device we carry with us to stay on top of business. Enterprise mobility enables a workforce to have instant access to information through mobile applications anywhere, anytime.

In today's business environment, we rely on the availability of and access to the latest information in real time, and mobility makes this possible. This is especially true in healthcare: Health organizations need information when and where they need it. Anywhere access is becoming equal in importance to having an Internet connection.

Mobility is not just having a mobile device you carry with you; it can also be fixed devices that are located everywhere a user goes. In other words, you are the mobile part, finding devices where you need them. For instance, in a healthcare facility with anywhere access to electronic health records (EHRs) with their patients’ information, clinicians can more quickly make decisions, collaborate and potentially save lives, without wasting precious time.

Trip O’Donnell, with HealthCast Inc., recently told me about a solution built for a current customer. HealthCast is a Microsoft intelligent systems partner that focuses on enhanced proximity badge functionality for secure access to computerized information, as well as single sign-on features across fixed and mobile devices. HealthCast’s solution allows hospitals and clinics to make it easier and faster for physicians and nurses to access patient information securely.

A customer, Saint Luke’s Health System near Kansas City, Mo., was looking for a way to save medical staff time and help them better care for their patients without thinking about how to use the technology or having it slow them down. The solution needed to meet HIPAA regulations and Meaningful Use criteria necessary to eliminate paper records as well as qualify for stimulus funding.

After very positive feedback from CMOs and CNOs, Saint Luke’s adopted HealthCast’s QwickACCESS solution. The solution is an enhanced single sign-on solution, utilizing Windows Embedded-based thin clients, that streamlines access to virtual and published desktops with the simple tap of a standard proximity badge. Users tap their badge to securely access and log off their unique sessions or “tap-over” a session left open by another user, reinforcing security measures. This HealthCast solution is an intelligent system that automates access and security to EHR data at shared devices, so that clinicians can easily connect to and secure information residing on remote servers.

Rather than mobile devices, PCs and thin clients are used, placed throughout the hospital so that physicians can easily move from one device to another, including at a patient’s bedside. Physicians are now able to see two or three more patients per day with the additional time the QwickACCESS enhanced sign-on solution saves them. A physician can walk up to any PC or thin client, tap their proximity badge on the attached USB proximity reader, and enter their password at the beginning of their day. The password is temporarily saved for a configurable time such as two hours, but refreshes with each badge “tap,” typically eliminating the need for them to re-enter their password again for the entire day.

Because thin clients are significantly less expensive than desktop PCs, Saint Luke’s can buy more thin clients for the same PC replacement budget. This allows the solution to be located everywhere a user goes. The demand for this combined solution has grown much faster than Saint Luke’s Health System had anticipated. Today, it has more than 4,000 clinicians accessing information through this solution and has deployed more than 2,000 thin clients.

This type of enterprise mobility solution from Microsoft partners such as HealthCast can help keep costs under control while saving clinicians time, resulting in more time for patient care.

We will highlight this leading-edge intelligent system in the Microsoft booth #4749 at the upcoming HIMSS14 show in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23–27, 2014. You can also visit HealthCast at HIMSS in booth #7045. Read more about Microsoft’s vision for healthcare here.

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