HIMSS Tips & Tricks: How to make an HIT vendor squirm

Our team going to HIMMS this year will disown me for this article, but it’s the middle of winter in New England and the short, cold days bring out my snarky side. For some time, I’ve been writing a technology blog aimed at Dads. My tech journalism enables me to attend the Consumer Electronics Show each year in January, where the latest and greatest consumer technology is on display. Companies bring their products in hopes that customers, analysts and press will pay attention. Covering the show, I get to ask these vendors the tough questions that make them squirm as I try to assess the real value of their product offerings. We’re off to HIIMSS (booth #5168) shortly and I will soon be on the other side of the show booth – answering those same questions. So, here are the inquiries that will cause sweat to bead up on a vendor’s brow.

Can you show me actual working software?
That’s right, no demo-ware, no PowerPoint slides, no screen shots. You want to see the real thing with live data. You want to see how to navigate between functions and how usable the User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) is. You want to see if you can get the product out of the hands of the vendor and then do your best to muck up the pre-programmed show. Nothing puts more fear into the heart of a sales rep than a demo that’s gone off script.

Is this available now?
At CES this year, I asked that question to one company who answered, “It will be in Beta in the third quarter.” That means that I could actually buy it and use it sometime during the next President’s administration. One year in real time is like seven years in the smartphone software market. I leave writing about the distant future to sci-fi authors and you should take the same approach with “it will be here sometime” software.

Where can I buy it?
Amazingly, getting new technology into your hospital can be a frustrating exercise. Make sure that the software is available through a trusted source, such as a major distributor or via a GPO. You’ll thank me later on this one.

Put us to the test
We’re at booth #5168 this year at HIMMS, so stop by, ask our team these questions and test them out. I’ll be there as well (if the team doesn’t banish me from the booth) and I look forward to your best efforts in trying to put us off our game!

Yale-New Haven Hospital picks smartphone app to streamline clinical staff communications

Patient care teams at Yale-New Haven Hospital, looking for a faster, more efficient and more secure way to communicate with each other in the emergency room, have adopted smartphone applications to speed up workflows.

Physicians Have Spoken: EHR Tools for Clinical Communications Are Not Good Enough

Consider these two well-known facts about the current state of healthcare IT:

  1. Electronic Health Record (EHR), or Electronic Medical Record (EMR), systems have become a cornerstone of hospital health information technology.
    According to an April 2015 data brief by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 76% US hospitals have at least a basic EHR system, an eight-fold increase since 2008.
  2. Physicians are using smartphones as their primary device to support clinical communications.
    An often-cited Spyglass Consulting Group report, entitled Point of Care Communications for Physicians 2014, revealed that 96% of physicians are using smartphones as their primary device to support clinical communications.

So, why not just use the clinical communications tools built into your EHR system of choice? According to physician feedback cited in this HIT Consultant article, that approach is simply not meeting their needs.

  • 83% of physicians expressed frustration using EHRs to support clinical communications due to poor EHR interoperability, limited EHR messaging capabilities and poor usability that makes it difficult to find relevant clinical data.
  • Despite smartphone adoption, 70% of physicians believe hospital IT organizations are making inadequate investments to address physician mobile computing and communication requirements at point of care due to limited planned investments, poor mobile EHR tools, and inadequate mobile user support

This quote from Steven Davidson, MD, MBA former CMIO at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY really drives the point home:

“As we were developing our plans for improving communication among clinicians, we discovered that few hospitals were investing in communication-driven workflow support, perhaps because meaningful use and HIPAA are consuming all the resources. Still, it seems many IT leaders hope the EHR–a tool poorly suited to the task–will suffice. In reality, overwhelmed nurses and doctors struggle accomplishing necessary communication through the EHR; instead implementing workarounds on their own devices.

The Spyglass report cited by the HIT Consultant article noted that the next generation communications solutions must be secure, easy-to-use, and tightly integrated with the EHR to provide adequate clinical context to successfully close the communications loop with colleagues and team members. At Mobile Heartbeat, we understand the importance of these attributes and, as a result, we continue to deliver the most secure, usable, and tightly integrated clinical communications solution on the market.

Don’t be one of those hospital IT organizations that relies on your EHR to meet the clinical communications needs of your physicians. Provide a real mobile clinical communications solution, such as MH-CURE, that meets the needs of smartphone users and integrates with your existing EHR investment.

If you choose not to, the consequences are well documented:

According to the Ponemon Institute, inefficient communications during critical clinical workflows costs the average U.S. hospital approximately $1.75 million annually.