Mobility in Multiple Hospitals (in a single day!)

My usual blog posts refer to mobility and clinical communications software in generic terms. I’m going to break from the norm and write with great pride about how we have architected our software. Specifically, about how our MH-CURE application is designed to support multiple locations (hospitals, urgent care, etc.) from a single data center. In effect, we’re enabling our customers to use our software in their “private cloud” environments, which enhances security and scalability. Just as importantly, our multi-site architecture enables a simple and manageable installation at even the most complex customer sites.

The inspiration for this article came from one of our clients who asked us to deploy three hospitals in the same day. We needed to plan for installation, deployment and training to  complete all simultaneously at three hospitals. Then, on one magic Wednesday, all three hospitals would begin using MH-CURE on both personal (BYOD) and shared smartphones. To make this a bigger challenge, there was no “staged deployment” planned. Each hospital wanted all of our product’s core features – secure text, voice, alerts and patient info –  to work on day one.

What I thought would be an impossible task turned into a great learning experience on how to architect and deploy new technology. The project plan centered around our application software being installed in this customer’s regional data center. MH-CURE was installed on virtual servers connected to the EMR system in a highly scalable environment. This included working with load balancers, back-up and archiving technology and network firewalls. Although this was not a trivial process, once complete, the regional data center could easily support 60+ individual hospitals, all running both their EMR and our MH-CURE software from their “private cloud.”

After strenuous functional and performance testing, we were ready for the “three hospitals in one-day” challenge. The rest of the project plan was straightforward for each facility:

  • Take delivery of the smartphones
  • Install the Mobile Device Management software (MDM)
  • Install our application, MH-CURE
  • Point the phones to the correct server URL
  • Connect the phones to the hospital’s phone system (PBX)
  • Train the clinicians
  • Go live!!!

With over 250 shared phones per facility, this means that 750+ shared phones would be deployed (supporting over 3,000 clinicians) along with over 300 BYOD users. Everything would be turned on the first day.

Bottom line: We’ve built MH-CURE to handle multiple sites and “private cloud” deployments, but our product works great in single hospitals, too. So, if you’re looking to “future proof” your investment in smartphones and clinical communications software, consider MH-CURE. We’ve handled the challenges of the most demanding clients in the industry and we welcome yours.

How getting the right information quickly can minimize risk in a clinical setting

Communication, or the lack thereof, is the No. 1 contributor of clinical errors, according to the nonprofit Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,500 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S.1 What’s more, communication during care transitions plays a role “in an estimated 80 percent of serious preventable adverse events.”

Mobile Heartbeat to Sponsor, Exhibit and Speak at the 2015 Clinical Informatics Academy

Mobile Heartbeat today announced it will be sponsoring, exhibiting and speaking at the 2015 Clinical Informatics Academy, hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA), September 25-26, at the Dell Plano Campus, 2300 West Plano Parkway, Plano, Texas.

iOS 9 has arrived and MH-CURE is fully compatible!

With today’s release of iOS 9 from Apple, your users are going to be tempted to upgrade their devices. Relax…MH-CURE is fully compatible. Our recent 8.5.9 release as well as our previous 8.1.6 version of MH-CURE will work with any of your iOS devices – iPhones, iPads and iPad Minis.

So go ahead and update to get all of the iOS 9 benefits. You’re good to go!

Measuring Mobility

When an organization starts to investigate clinical communications via smartphones, they are inevitably faced with questions around measuring impact. Return on Investment (ROI), workflow changes, improvements in patient care and even cultural impact all become part of the decision process. The scope and breadth of a mobility project can be overwhelming, so below is a guide to some of the measurement criteria and benefits (some obvious, others surprising) that you should include in your decision-making:

Workplace Impact – Workflow Changes

By definition, a mobility deployment via smartphones changes the workflow of your clinicians. A previous blog article highlighted the “15 minutes to 15 seconds” improvement for physicians. But other staff members experience tremendous impacts as well. Here are a few anecdotes:

  • An RN refers to the smartphone and our software as “Having a resident in my pocket,” since the mobility technology keeps them connected at all times.
  • Bed cleaners equipped with smartphones can now instantly send updates when a bed is ready for a new patient.
  • Clinicians can now easily conduct impromptu consults with their cohorts via voice, text and video.

Workflow improvements begin immediately and keep growing as your clinicians find new ways to use their smartphones and mobility software.

Clinical Improvements

We are big proponents of measurable results and one of our client hospitals recently shared with us some outstanding clinical improvements. This particular hospital was looking to measure the clinical impact of their new Mobile Heartbeat deployment and they found the following as a direct result of deploying smartphones with our software:

  • The time from a patient’s stroke event to a CT scan decreased by 9 minutes per patient due to improved communication and coordination.
  • The average “time to treat” in the Emergency Department decreased by 6 minutes per patient.

Measuring both clinical impact and throughput resulted in impressive improvements.

Information Technology Impact

How busy is your hospital Help Desk? Make sure you measure your support calls before and after-a smartphone deployment. You will find that easy-to-use clinical communications software will reduce your clinicians’ dependence on complex Workstations on Wheels (WOWS). Their familiarity with smartphone software will result in fewer support calls and less user frustration.

Financial Impact

Increasing revenue or decreasing costs can create a positive financial impact, but what if your smartphone deployment can accomplish both?

  • One hospital that deployed our Consumables Billing Module in their extensive Emergency Department is now capturing 5,500 consumable items per month and attributing these items to the appropriate patient’s billing record via the smartphone.
  • Our clients’ HCAHP scores have increased immediately after their Mobile Heartbeat deployment. One facility went from missing their HCAHP goals to becoming the top ranked hospital in their entire chain.
  • Critical lab results can be “pushed” to each patient’s care team. This means less “time to treat” (see the ED example above) and results in a leaner, more cost-effective hospital.

Measuring financial impact – both revenue and costs – is critical in your clinical communications decision.

Summary

With all of the above areas for measurement, where should I focus? Our advice is to start with the goals most important to your facility. You can add-on the other impact areas later. But one big piece of advice from experience: don’t try to boil the ocean by measuring everything. Just make sure that you get a baseline before you deploy a mobility solution and then compare this with your post-deployment data. We’re confident that you will see some excellent improvements.

Looking at the future of smartphone use

When I am not traveling, I start my day by riding my mountain bike, and I hit a pathway  used by the local high school kids as they are walking to school. They are on both sides of a narrow, paved bi-directional path with  a white line dividing the lanes (like the freeway, but without the gridlock traffic I experience in Southern California on any given day. Including weekends. But that’s another rant).

I spend most of my ride slowing and warning the students that I’m coming, with a calm (but urgent) shout of “RIDER!” as I approach. Not because they’re engrossed in conversation (even though they are literally elbow-to-elbow with their peers, in clumps, like random grapes on a vine in late summer), but because they are head-down, oblivious, tapping and staring at their smartphones – communicating with people, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, flickr (hopefully not Ashley Madison) and any number of other sites popular these days. Interestingly enough, a REALLY great conversation is probably available with the guy or girl immediately to their right or left, but apparently that idea hasn’t occurred to any of them.

Seriously, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, 88% of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone, and 91% of U.S. teens go on the Internet via a mobile device. 92% of U.S. teens go online daily, and 91% of U.S. teen cell owners use text messaging with an average of 30 texts per day.

Why, in our industry, are the actions of a bunch of High School kids important? Because THEY are the future of the work force. THEY will be the doctors and nurses walking the halls of your hospital, expecting the same level of immediate communication they have grown up with. THEY are the decision-makers consuming data faster than prior generations thought possible, and THEY are the ones expecting data to be there (without excuses) when they want to consume it.

We already see this trend in healthcare – physicians, nurses, technicians, and other clinicians use their personal devices for unsecured, non HIPAA-compliant text messaging. And they are becoming the predominant means of communication because they’re fast, easy, and you don’t have to stop what you are doing to communicate. This trend will grow exponentially over the next decade.

Secure HIPAA-compliant text messaging is one feature of a complete Unified Clinical Communication platform running on smartphones that will eventually become the standard for modern healthcare providers. THAT’S what is needed in our healthcare workforce today.

Otherwise, we are just weaving around them,  with a calm (but urgent) shout, “RIDER!”