Telecommunication has started its revolution from the early 1980’s to later cellular communication, starting early 1990’s to 2000’s. Going from stationary communication (phones on the desk) to mobile communication (cell phones on the go) has major impacts on all aspects, from social to business of all verticals. Microsoft with its office suite has brought another aspect of communication, via email and documentation being exchanged. This change is similar to the early stationary telecommunication, anchored by workstations and personal computers. Blackberry has augmented such communication with e-mail on the go, and brought mobility to office communication, complementing Microsoft email capabilities. There are three major common points:
- Communication must be two-way. Communication is not complete if there is only one party capable to initiate a call to the other. If a cellular phone only initiates a call back to the office, its impact is so limited in the efficiency of workers outside the brick and mortar.
- In-time communication carrying critical information to its end-users is another key
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component. Real-time or near-time information reaching out to its targeted audience is crucial to
augment its end users efficiency and scalability.
- Along with just-in-time information is push communication. Prior to Blackberry, the end-users must sit down at a workstation or personal computer to retrieve their emails. Even with primary mobile email communication, a poll approach on a mobile device is not as powerful an impact to workplace and its efficiency / scalability.
Major industries have gone through such evolution, where a two-way, push and just-in-time communication has enhanced collaboration, efficiency and scalability of its workers, moving their office from behind the corporate walls to being effective anywhere, anytime. Mobility in healthcare has taken steps towards the same evolution but is still shy on applying the same trends as communications in other vertical industries. As a specific example, email and SMS text are not sufficient to carry the same useful information for care providers, as they are enough for other business verticals. Along with the same example, Microsoft Excel format (or similar offerings from other vendors) is not sufficient for care providers to view and navigate patient medical information. Apple mobile devices, along with other smart mobiles devices offered from Samsung, LG, Microsoft, etc. have brought computing power nearly equivalent to stationary workstations and personal computers. They have contributed the last component needed for healthcare to truly bring mobility to the care providers. With all the necessary components lined up, we should define mobility as its true meaning, drawing from past evolutions, applying the requirements from healthcare. Healthcare mobility must have at least the following characteristics:
- Two-way communication: It is not sufficient to have healthcare mobility only offering one-way communication. A physician must be able to pull patient medical information from anywhere, at anytime but more important, a physician must be able to receive critical patient information, requiring his / her attention anywhere, anytime.
- In-time communication with targeted audience: It is critical for a salesperson to receive just-in-time supported case prior for him / her to sit down with his / her customers prior to a maintenance contract review. In healthcare, it is critical for a physician to receive just-in-time patient information when there is a condition change, which may impact patient care outcomes. If the first case is only critical for business, the second case would have both the business impact (cost) along with human life. Along with that, if such communication is a broadcast, it brings about massive alert fatigue leading to a total communication shut down.
- Push communication: Receiving a target alert with no relevant information requires care providers to find a stationary device such as workstation or personal computer to access patient medical information. It is similar to a pager giving a short note but the receiver must find a stationary device to figure out what he or she needs to do, whether it is a phone or a personal computer. As stated above, smart mobile devices such as Apple iPad and iPhone are packed with enough computing power to be a very effective client user interface, capable of handling patient medical information anywhere, anytime.
It is time for care providers to demand healthcare IT and its application vendors to truly support mobility.
- Healthcare mobility is not just about providing the same polling user interface offered on a workstation being ported to a mobile platform such as Apple
iPad or iPhone.
- Healthcare mobility is not just about requiring care providers to continuously poll for patient medical information.
- Healthcare mobility is not effective enough if it still stays with pagers, simple SMS texting or even where there is a need for pushing patient medical information, instead of just simple data exchange.
Zoeticx Patient-Server platform with its Care module products have brought all the major critical components to truly bring mobility to healthcare.