Please raise your hand if you’ve ever been told “Hey, someone just purchased a new app or device for the clinicians!” without ever being approached to see if the network can handle it or if there is sufficient Wi-Fi coverage?
Wearable devices and applications are taking healthcare by storm, increasingly led by those outside of IT. Clinicians are taking a greater role in selecting technology to improve the well-being and care of patients – both inside and outside the hospital. If you are in IT, you’re probably all too (frustratingly) aware of the overlooked problem in this: whether or not the existing network infrastructure can handle the new devices and applications and making sure your team has the tools to support them.
During the HIMSS16 conference, I had the opportunity to attend a panel session on Wearable’s Wednesday with mobility experts weighing in on their experience with advice about wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare.
The good news is, these mobility experts themselves raised the question I opened with above – so you’re not alone. To address this common challenge that wearable devices and applications bring to your network, they offered their #1 tips to successfully take on mobility initiatives in healthcare.
Bob Zemke, Director of Healthcare Solutions, Extreme Networks
#1 Tip: Project Management – The first step to any initiative is understanding the project goal
By understanding the goal of the project, you are able to focus your attention, training, resources etc. to avoid any potential issues and ensure smooth implementation where necessary.
Bob offered a very relatable example where end-user training is critical:
Nurses and doctors send a patient home with a blood pressure tool that is monitored remotely. The patient’s 10-year old son decides, “This is a cool looking tool! I want to try it on!” This simple mishap now skews the data being transferred back to the doctors and nurses monitoring the patient’s blood pressure – it is no longer exclusively providing data on the patient,but also a 10-year old boy’s blood pressure data as well. This kind of user-error could have been avoided with proper training.
Ali Youssef, Senior Clinical Mobile Solutions Architect, Henry Ford Health System
#1 Tip: Risk Management Strategy – With new opportunities often come new risks…ensure you have a solid risk management strategy
Determining whether the benefits of a new technology outweigh any potential patient risks is not a task that can be accurately assessed by IT alone. Risk management draws in clinicians, healthcare technologists, IT professionals, systems engineers, regulators, and even manufacturers. Having an open process in place to assess new technologies prior to deployment in the healthcare environment is critical to the success of wearable initiatives.
Gerald “Jerry” Aubert , Associate Vice President for Health & Information Technology, UCF Healthcare
#1 Tip: Focus on one thing and then expand
We are in the midst of a mobile revolution in healthcare; but what does that mean? Rome wasn’t built in a day; well, neither should your connected hospital. That’s not to say you should take on mobility at a pace that causes you to fall behind other hospitals, but don’t try and take on the whole mobile world at the first go. Too many projects intend to solve too many problems at once, creating more challenges and making it that much harder to measure and achieve success.
Start small. Begin by deploying one medical device serving one purpose. Go through the process of evaluation, implementation, training etc. and be ready for bumps in the road – that’s normal. By starting out small, your IT team can iron out all the support challenges; learning from the experience to expand and take on the next initiative. Soon enough you will be successfully functioning as a modern connected hospital, because you took your time while still being proactive in your hospital’s technological advancements.
Are you in the middle of (or currently evaluating) a mobility initiative at your hospital? Here are some helpful resources you’ll be interested in:
Mobility Trends Impacting the Connected Hospital [Blog | Slideshare]: Learn about the top 5 mobility trends impacting healthcare in 2016.
Application Intelligence and Control for Healthcare [Solutions Guide]: Find out how to overcome critical technology issues for real-time application services.
Indiana University Health Improves Customer Satisfaction and Delivers a Better Patient Experience [Case Study]: Read the full case study to learn why IU Health replaced their existing Cisco and Juniper infrastructure to meet the needs of a modern mission-critical hospital environment with Extreme Networks solutions.