Clinical and business opportunities
As healthcare organizations strive to innovate their way into new business and clinical opportunities, the tablet platform is rolling out the steadiest supply of innovative applications in computing today. In Perlin's day-in-the-life scenario of an HCA clinician, he describes several applications for the iPad in widespread use at HCA:
Perlin notes that HCA also developed an in-house tablet app that gathers the work of hospitalists and makes the necessary referral to a specialist such as a cardiologist.
Because of new technology that connects monitoring devices to the EHR, caregivers can follow patients' vital signs on their mobile devices in real time rather than relying on data entered by hand at the end of shifts. The program, HCA Vitals Now, reduced the average time it took for vital signs to enter the patient's EHR from up to 41 minutes using pen and paper to 23 seconds per patient. The vendor partner is now making the app available to non-HCA providers.
Mobile devices also follow caregivers where computers haven't traditionally been. Intermountain developed an application for emergency responders, the first version of which is being tested by the Life Flight Network of Aurora, Ore.
Responders of Life Flight Network, which operates EMS helicopters in Intermountain's mountainous service area, typically had to document patient information once the helicopters touched down at hospitals. Using the Life Flight app, they can now document while en route to the facility, Holston says.
As a result, patients begin receiving treatment faster, responders write down information while it's still fresh in their heads, and legibility isn't an issue, Holston says. It also speeds Intermountain's billing process, he adds.
In the future, Intermountain could make its app available for sale for other healthcare providers, since it could apply equally effectively to any emergency responder, Holston says. For now, pilot testing continues as Intermountain fine-tunes the application's user interface. Clearly, it is a strategic initiative for Intermountain, but Holston declined to say how much money the organization has invested in its development.