MH-CURE at center of HCA’s rollout of mobile platform

If you read HCA’s blog, HCA Today, or its quarterly magazine, you, then you might have caught the May 8th blog and Spring issue article entitled, “Hold the Phone.” The article is about iMobile, the successful new smartphone program HCA is implementing, which we are proud to say includes Mobile Heartbeat’s MH-CURE® clinical smartphone application. MH-CURE was chosen from among 20 contenders to become the clinical communications smartphone platform for HCA’s 179 hospitals, the rollout being done in phases.

HCA asked its clinical community what they wanted from a secure messaging smartphone platform and the response was that they needed to be able to communicate about many different aspects of patient care, not just have text messaging.

“We got to work on a solution that would include requests for nurse call-bell integration, lab values, an ability to broadcast to multiple devices, and more,” said a representative at HCA. MH-CURE has responded to all their needs by providing secure access to ALL clinical communications, pertinent patient information and lab data, along with staff assignment and dynamic role capabilities, as well as HIPAA-compliant texting.

iPhones with MH-CURE were first rolled out to TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville last summer. The article reports that, “After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from clinicians and physicians, the devices are also live now at several other facilities” with HCA.

MH-CURE adoption was easy, and, as Chris Staigl, Chief Nursing Officer at TriStar Southern Hills, pointed out, “The transition time was nil. Now everybody’s getting a lot more done, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

One of their physicians, Dr. Tracy Osborne, likes the ability to communicate directly with nurses and other clinicians at the hospital. “This is much more fluid, because I am in immediate contact with that person,” she said. “Being able to see labs is wonderful. I’m able to move quicker in terms of patient care.”

Perhaps the most glowing statement in the article regarding their MH-CURE implementation was in this quote from an HCA representative: “The communication is phenomenal when it comes to patient throughput. And because the system is being used by physicians, pharmacy techs, and almost everyone in the hospital, it’s improving efficiency between departments and also increasing patient satisfaction because people are getting better, quicker care.”

To find out more about HCA’s success with MH-CURE and its iMobile project, check out the full article.

Pull vs. Push – Waiting on a Train

During a recent hospital visit, I watched in amazement as an Emergency Department physician stood in front of a WOW (i.e. a “Workstation on Wheels”) and hit the Return key, peered at the screen, hit the Return key again and then continuously repeated. I stood there awestruck for three minutes as the physician tried to coax something out of this “mobile” computer. What was going on here that was so important that the doc was spending valuable time data-diving instead of working with the patient? When I politely asked, the doc frowned and replied, “I’m waiting on a lab result in order to determine whether to admit or discharge a patient. I know it should be available but it’s not, so I just keep hitting the keys and hoping.”

On the way to the facility, one of my favorite bands, Matchbox Twenty, was on the radio and the lyrics from their song, “Waiting on a Train,” then ran through my head:

I’ve been waiting on a train that’ll never come
Hiding from the feeling of believing in someone
Come on, come on
I waited all this time

I couldn’t help but empathize with this clinician standing there waiting and hoping. Why wasn’t this lab result pushed to the clinician as soon as it was made available by the lab? Even more generally, why weren’t all of the physician’s needed information “pushed” instead of requiring the need to continually “pull” the info from an inconvenient location?

So here are the guidelines for moving from “pull” to “push”:

  1. Put appropriate mobile devices in your clinicians’ hands – smartphones and tablets are cost-effective and may be supplied by the hospital or be the clinician’s personal device (BYOD).
  2. Connect a Clinical Communications platform to your legacy systems – get the important info out of those silos.
  3. Make sure that you have an accurate and up-to-date care team directory for each patient – you need to know which clinician should receive info for each and every patient.
  4. When the info arrives from the legacy system (i.e. a new lab result), “push” the message to the appropriate clinician’s mobile device.
  5. Close the loop – make it easy for the clinician to let others know that they have received and reviewed the patient-related data.

It’s all about optimizing workflow and putting mobility technology into the hands of clinicians (who, by the way, may be the most highly valuable and truly “mobile” professionals of any industry). Put this in place and your clinical staff will sing a different tune:

Don’t take away the music
It’s the only thing I’ve got
It’s my piece of the rock

Your team will make sure that you never take it away!

Challenge: The first reader who can identify the lyrics song and artist from this tune wins a Starbucks gift card. Email your guess to me at:

Getting Your Users to Adopt Secure Texting

A common scenario we run into at hospitals is: “I introduced a secure texting solution to my clinicians a few months ago but the usage rate is really low. How can I get them to start adopting this”?

To be more specific, one anecdote I heard recently was from a hospital that obtained 700 copies of a secure texting-only product and deployed the app to their clinicians. The plan was that the app would be used in place of SMS for clinicians to securely text with one another, thus protecting PHI and indemnifying the hospital from any HIPAA violations. Two months after the app was introduced, the usage logs showed that only 20 of the potential 700 clinicians were using the app. What happened? Why was this potential solution so poorly adopted?

The answers all stemmed from the app’s real value to the clinicians. The lesson learned here is that technology that does not actually enhance the users’ abilities is doomed.  In this instance:

  1. Secure texting is a feature, not a product. Without a clinical/patient context, this app was not adding any value for the clinician.
  2. Forcing clinicians to use new technology is never easy, but making them use an app that does not provide them with an obvious benefit is even harder.
  3. Standalone applications that do not utilize existing clinical data are a tough sell to clinicians. By adding another piece of technology that does not reduce the user’s already complex world, you are asking way too much.

So, this hospital has now gone back to the drawing board and is evaluating full clinical communications platforms. Their experience has led them to look for a solution that makes the patient context the center of all communications, delivers clinical information directly to the smartphone and can be integrated with other clinical apps to form what they refer to as a “app set” for each type of clinical user (i.e. a different set of apps for hospitalists than for nurses) with communications capabilities at the core.

Fortunately, the hospital will be able to repurpose their smartphones and did not forfeit much cash. Going forward, they’ve learned a major lesson – keep the clinician’s needs foremost in clinical communications.