How Mobile Tech is Revolutionizing Home Health
Mobile devices have the potential to significantly reduce the costs of healthcare operations, while improving overall service quality. For the home health market in particular, mobile technologies such as laptops and tablets enable patients to be monitored from home, whereas they may have previously needed to be monitored as inpatients. This is a major advantage for both patients, as they are more comfortable in their own homes, as well as health providers, as hospitals are some of the most expensive facilities to operate across all industries. We recently discussed the impact of mobile technologies in a webinar with HomeCare Magazine and Intel.
Chris Tackett, Healthcare Industry Marketing Manager for Intel, kicked off the webinar by discussing how the move to digital records has made it easier for patients, doctors and healthcare staff to access information nearly anywhere. That said, IT departments must now work harder than ever to protect data and meet HIPAA standards, as well as other federal regulations. He also discussed IT’s role in educating medical professionals on best practices for sharing patient information and pointed out that the consequences can be major if these guidelines aren’t followed. While following best practices when sharing patient data may safeguard against compliance issues, it won’t necessarily prevent a data breach. In fact, Chris stated that 30 million data records have been breached since 2009. Frighteningly, this is just the number of reported breaches so the actual total is likely much higher.
While device security is a major consideration for healthcare and home care IT departments, employees and the finance department are focused on a number of other factors. These three distinct groups and their various needs must all be taken into account before a mobile device rollout, which I explained during my portion of the presentation. When it comes to home care employees, they are looking for tablets and laptops that have a long battery life, are portable and easy to carry, enable continuous connectivity and are durable and rugged enough to withstand their demand jobs, which can lead to drops and spills. These devices also need to endure some of the other unique challenges of a healthcare environment, such as the ability to be sanitized and be used while wearing medical gloves.
The finance department has its own set of expectations as well. In particular, most finance teams are looking for devices that provide a low total cost of ownership, enable a high return on investment, make employees more productive and do not put a strain on IT resources. This is due to the fact that many healthcare IT departments operate on limited budgets and often have a small staff. Given these factors, IT wants mobile solutions that require minimal maintenance, offer extensive vendor support, are long lasting, provide training programs and enable rapid deployments. As mentioned above, security is also a critical consideration for healthcare IT professionals. In fact, according to findings from IDG Research, 70 percent of those surveyed cited “security concerns” as their top issue related to supporting tablets.
While these three audiences must be taken into account, decision makers should also look at different device form factors and consider what works best across the specific workflows within the organization. It’s a lot to take into account but evaluating stakeholder needs and how the devices will be used before a rollout will ensure that success is optimized across the organization and that these mobile devices will become a main component of your company’s success for a long time to come.
To view the HomeCare Magazine webinar on demand, visit: http://www.homecaremag.com/webinars/mobile-technology-trends-home-health-care. For more information about Panasonic’s mobility solutions for healthcare and home health, visit http://www.panasonic.com/business-solutions/healthcare-technology-solutions.asp.