Keeping a Service Focus Through Mobile Point-of-Care Technologies
December 2009

Keeping a Service Focus Through Mobile Point-of-Care Technologies

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The article focuses on mobile point of care solutions that enable hospitals to provide clinicians with secure, convenient, and ubiquitous access to electronic medical records and other digital solutions, at the bedside or other places where such access is needed.


The story is familiar around the world. Healthcare costs are rising. Too many people lack access to high-quality healthcare services. Paper-based workflows introduce errors and hamper productivity. However, we still observe inefficient processes in hospitals that have deployed electronic systems including a hospital information system and electronic medical records.

If a health system has to deliver world class services with a service focus, it is imperative to keep the customer at the center of the processes. The customer in this case would be the patient and the relatives of the patient, since they are the ones who would be going through the various approval processes while the patient is indisposed. Processes that would enhance the patient experience would need to transform not just the front end interactions but all the touch points that the patient experiences once he/she enters the hospital premises. While keeping this in mind, there is also a need to optimize on the efficiencies of the clinicians so that they have access to relevant information about the patient at the right time.

In addition, improving the skills of the people who are staffing and using the information systems is vital for improving quality and throughput. Do we need separate data entry operators who are entrusted with the task of preparing the discharge summary if information is captured at point of care? Can we reduce the average discharge time of a patient thereby increasing his overall satisfaction with the hospital? Can multiple agencies like the TPA, outsourced pharmacies, outsourced laboratory etc that operate within the hospital premises have anintegrated system so that the patient or his relatives experience a seamless good experience?

Let us now imagine a scenario in which the electronic systems and digital technologies, that are available today, are fully utilized. Upon admission, the patient is given a bar coded receipt that bears the patient details and the OPD number. The doctor on meeting the patient asks for this receipt and scans it to retrieve an order entry page where he can note his comments while clicking on the tests that he would like the patient to undergo. The patient walks back to the OPD counter where he just swipes his credit card or makes a payment towards the tests and is informed that the pre-conditions for each test by a technician along with the date and time when the test is to be conducted and the person to get in touch with for each of these along with the room number. The slip also contains bar codes for the various departments to peel off and stick onto the samples they collect or reports they generate. This is one such workflow that can utilize the benefits of information technology and maintaining the processed patient centric.

There could be numerous other such workflows that could be reengineered and then automated to ensure that the patient is always at the center of activity. While we do this it isimportant to ensure that we also delete certain non-value added processes that could exist as a result of automation.

There is an urgent need for hospitals to rethink their IT deployments which are largely meant to be back end functions to see how they can improve the workflow in their patient interaction areas. This is where we do see Mobile Point of Care (MPOC)1 to play a very important role.

MPOC solutions enable hospitals to provide clinicians with secure, convenient, and ubiquitous access to electronic medical records and other digital solutions, at the bedside or other places where such access is needed. By doing so, MPOC investments can be essential to user satisfaction with new digital solutions and to the solutions’ ultimate ability to deliver their intended value.

MPOC solutions enable improvements in clinical workflow through a combination of wireless networks, mobilized applications, and mobile computing devices. These improvements in clinical workflows can enhance productivity, improve quality of care, create opportunities for cost savings, and increase clinician and patient satisfaction2.

Clinician Workflow

Clinicians experience added convenience when entering and accessing information at thebedside or exam room. They avoid the redundant work and extra steps that occur when using a centralized PC, as well as the delays that occur when clinicians have to queue up for a PC.

Clinicians who previously depended on manual processes can base their workflows on real-time information. This information can give them new power to plan and execute their work in ways that improve the quality, efficiency, and cost of care and improve their own and their patients’satisfaction.

Quality of Care

MPOC solutions improve care by enabling point-of-care charting, avoiding delays and errors caused by illegible handwriting and allowing patient information to be made immediately available to the healthcare team. These benefits can reduce delays in treatment planning, and shorten average length of stay (ALOS).

MPOC solutions also allow clinicians to access comprehensive patient information, reminders, alerts, orders, and clinical decision support at the point of care. Clinicians can use this information to improve treatment planning, decision making, and resource allocation, and can avoid errors or duplicate treatments caused by information that is completely missing or out-ofdate.

The table has been sourced from the white paper: Mobile Point-of-Care Value Model: Building a Business Case for Clinical Workflow Improvements Enabled by Mobile Technologies.

Cost Optimization

Productivity increases and efficiencies due to automation and workflow optimization can lead to cost savings. Access to real-time information may enable clinicians to avoid duplicate orunnecessary procedures, saving time and reducing materials costs. Real-time, location based asset tracking can reduce equipment loss and avoid replacement and rental charges.

Staff Satisfaction

MPOC solutions enhance staff satisfaction by providing tools that are adapted to the mobile environment and workflows. By enabling clinicians to access medical data and decision support tools and to chart their work at the point-of-care, MPOC solutions give them more time with patients�a factor that can impact staff satisfaction and quality of care. Improvements in staff satisfaction can have a financial impact by increasing staff retention.

Patient Satisfaction

Having more time with patients enhances the patient experience and generally results in greater satisfaction. Many clinicians report that optimized mobile devices intrude less on the clinical dialog than in-room PCs tend to do.

In addition, reductions in length of stay tend to improve satisfaction scores. These factors can also improve the patient experience.

Patient access

Overcrowding and long wait-times can increase patients’ frustration and anxiety and decreasetheir satisfaction with the healthcare system. MPOC can help improve access to care by streamlining previously inefficient processes and increasing clinician and staff productivity. HIT investments that improve asset tracking can optimize bed utilization and enhance use of other scarce resources. Patient-facing web portals can improve patients’ ability to interact efficiently with the healthcare system, again improving both patient satisfaction and system efficiency.


“By enabling clinicians to access medical data and decision support tools and to chart their work at the point-of-care, MPOC solutions give them more time with patients�a factor that can impact staff satisfaction and quality of care. Improvements in staff satisfaction can have a financial impact by increasing staff retention.”


Reflecting Intel’s conviction that all IT investments should impact key strategic imperatives, these  value dials�broad categories of benefits would determine where MPOC investments can deliver strategic value to healthcare organizations. Each of these value dials needs to be associated with a set of observable, quantifiable, operational metrics called key performance indicators (KPIs). Each key performance indicator is usually derived from an underlying calculation. That calculation generally has multiple variables that are built on data that hospitals typically collect to track performance, such as basic operational data, financial metrics, and clinical metrics.
The Intel HIT Value Model helps organizations answer two questions: what core organizational objectives do we want to achieve, and how will we know when we’ve achieved them? The valuedials are a starting point for specifying what you want to achieve.

To know more you could visit www.healthcaregoesmobile.com a leading site for use of mobile technologies at the point of care. This is a peer community for healthcare providers, Information Technology Professionals, Administrators and Consultants who are considering implementation or upgrades of their mobile point of care technologies. The site provides you with valuable informaton including live and archived webinars, case studies, videos, blogs and forums for interaction.

References:

White Paper:  Mobile Point-of-Care Value Model: Building a Business Case for Clinical Workflow Improvements Enabled by Mobile Technologies

White Paper: The Value of Healthcare IT (HIT): A Practical Approach to Discussing and Measuring the Benefits of HIT Investments

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