Last week, I had a scare.
It was late afternoon and I had just picked my daughter up from preschool. As I helped her get buckled into her carseat, I rested my phone on the roof of the car — just for a second — to free up my hands. Fast-forward about five minutes into our journey, and I remembered with a jolt — the phone was still on the roof of the (now moving) car! My mind raced: Had I heard a thud? Was the phone now strewn across the road in a million pieces, smashed by a two-ton truck? Panicked, I looked for a safe spot to pull over.
It’s an all-too-common scenario in today’s society — fear of losing your phone. As a general rule, we keep our mini pocket computers no more than an arm’s length away at all times. They are our connection to the world, to information, and to people. Like it or not, they’re here to stay.
Our affinity for mobility doesn’t end when we go to work, either. Mobile phones are becoming commonly-used tools in the workplace — especially for highly “mobile” employees like those in healthcare. Think about it: Who is more on-the-go than a doctor or nurse? (Someone actually studied it and found that nurses walk up to 4-5 miles per shift!)
When you free clinicians and other healthcare workers from a desktop, the possibilities are endless. Using secure texting or other messaging apps, they can access patient information and images such as X-rays, EKG readouts or pathology reports and share them with other care team members at the point of care in real time. Imagine how much time that could save!
“Location services” is another innovation that’s a huge boon to clinical productivity. Handheld devices can be used to locate wheelchairs, ultrasound units, IV pumps, other clinicians, or even patients, by using proximity-based intelligence.
And, of course, patients and their families love mobility, too. Devices and apps can be used to schedule appointments, get directions, pay bills, see lab test results, and communicate via text or email with their clinician. Plus, a long wait is a lot easier when you have the ability to access personal entertainment or communicate with friends.
The benefits are overwhelming. But the trick to effective mobility lies in the execution. Healthcare organizations must ensure two key outcomes:
- Reliability across the enterprise. You don’t want the connection to drop when you’re in the midst of important healthcare-related tasks.
- Security. Health data is the most sensitive data of all — requiring a strong defense against breaches.
Oh, and as for my phone? I found it exactly where I left it, on the roof of the car. Turns out, that rubber non-skid case is worth its weight in gold!
Published with permission from blogs.cisco.com.