Until recently, the only fully integrated mobility solution for physicians wanting to access patient information while roaming around in hospitals was via laptops incorporated into mobile carts used on the wards. At $30K a pop, however, the use of carts is fast disappearing, yet logging into the hospital information system via a PC at a nursing station is not a compelling option – doctors don’t want to be tethered to a fixed workstation. With wireless networking infrastructure now broadly deployed in hospitals, however, the advent of richly functional mobile devices such as the new Apple iPad may be the tipping point for physician mobility. It turns out many physicians want iPads in hospitals to make their data lookup and record keeping easier, faster and more accurate. Growing numbers of clinicians are adopting iPads for personal and professional use and asking hospital IT departments to support the use of these devices within the hospital and grant access to hospital applications and patient data via wireless LAN. While many of the organizations that allow staff to use their own mobile devices at work provide only basic access, such as to a browser and the Internet, I have seen several hospitals that decided to overcome the security challenges so they can embrace iPads. For pilot testing, Hamilton Health Sciences is leveraging its existing Citrix infrastructure and building a separate guest network so physicians can use their iPads to access hospital applications and data. In similar pilot testing at Ottawa Hospital, doctors are using iPads to gain access to the hospital’s PACS system (for diagnostic images) and EHR repository (for longitudinal patient records), giving them complete access to patient information. Valerie Gamache, deputy CIO at Ottawa Hospital, told me she knew iPads “would be very useful but we had no idea they would turn out to be such a ‘game-changer’.” A game-changer indeed.
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iPads are a game-changer for hospital physicians
Posted By Lou Tetsos January 21, 2013 in