Aligning Life Sciences and Healthcare IT. Part 2 A Practical Mobility Solution for Doctors and Nurses.
In Part 1 of Aligning Life Sciences and Healthcare IT – I introduced the ‘value chain’ for these industries, and discussed lessons learned from Life Sciences IT to help Healthcare IT in the use of technology. In Part 2 I am providing a practical application on the use of handheld (mobile) devices being used by doctors and nurses. The healthcare providers leverage this technology for patient care, and this provides Life Sciences manufacturers with a market ‘differentiation’ against their competition. At the end of this article I will provide a link to this ‘case study’ which we have named Patient Monitoring System (PMS).
As a background to this blog post I have been researching this topic. In an article by Jacob Goldstein, Can Technology Cure Health Care? , WSJ.com, April 13, 2010 (the main search title is “Can Digital Medical Records Fulfill Their Promise?). The theme of this article was on how hospitals can leverage the promise of technology. In this case the focus was on digital medical records. What I got out of this article was that technology, when misapplied, can be time consuming and take away from patient care. This got me thinking about the strategy behind the use of technology that supports our caregivers in putting the ‘patient first.’ The use of ‘change management’ is the key for any new technology. Especially when it is intended to reduce the workload for those involved. The last thing you need to worry about is how frustrated the users can be with new technology. This article did a nice job of going through lessons learned when implementing new hospital systems.
I find the Information Week Global CIO articles by Bob Evans to be very useful. In The Golden Age Of IT Has Begun: 6 Reasons Why by Bob Evans, Information Week May 24, 2010, this article summarizes the new opportunities available to CIOs. While IT vendors are coming out with functionality to help CIOs with their current IT landscape. I was very interested in the use of mobile handheld devices that can be used as strategic tools with access to analytics in order to make key business decisions.
Which leads me to the following….
The story which led to this solution
Our client is a global medical supplies company. They provide products for Ostomy and Continence care; Urology, Wound and Skin care. These are products that are sold to hospitals, institutions, as well as wholesalers and retailers. They are products that healthcare workers use to make life easier for people with medical conditions that are very personal. I have heard them describe this as “intimate healthcare.” As you can imagine there are competing products in this market. What our company provides is expertise in application development, maintenance and testing services. We were asked to help provide a “value added” service for their customers (targeting doctors and nurses) in order to help differentiate their products over the competition. This solution had to work in a hospital and home care environment. Doctors and nurses wanted to balance scheduling supplies, and services in their delivery of intimate healthcare to their patients.
The solution provided operates on both a personal digital assistant (PDA) and any desktop. Doctors and nurses are free to go about their daily routine since the application takes care of synchronizing patient information across these devices. The technology was delivered as an ‘integrated’ application including:
- GPS navigation – so when a nurse plans to visit a patient they can enter the address and the devices provide directions from that location.
- Calendar functionality – so that nurses can schedule visits, doctors can arrange appointments with nurses to discuss patient results, nurses can also schedule supplies to be delivered on the date of a patient visit.
- Photographic audit and document capability – these days a picture can tell you a lot about the patient’s healthcare outcome. This also allows for easy documentation for regulatory and financial purposes.
I would say we spent considerable amount of time working with the nurses and administrative staff to ‘fine tune’ this solution. Our client feels that this use of technology adds value in differentiating their products in this market. They currently bundle this solution with their products. Currently, they are being used in hospitals and for home care providers throughout the UK region in over 67 locations.
In this case information technology is used to align the needs of Life Sciences companies who want a advantage over competitors. Healthcare providers want to use technology that does not interfere with their goal of patient care. In order to reach critical mass on any new technology there has to be some iteration of the solution. We have the experience and proof that it can be done. I will offer to you a link to this case study. A brief document that covers some of the same detail I provided as well as some pictures of the desktop and PDA application. Please follow the link and download the pdf called Patient Management System (PMS).
I would be happy to help you learn more about this solution. Please feel free to leave me a comment regarding this blog post.