By Ian Jansen Van Rensburg, Senior Systems Engineering Manager at VMware Southern Africa
A trend we have evidenced in 2015 and something we will see well beyond, is the move by organisations to embrace a Mobile First strategy in their businesses. Research giant IDC predicts that IT organisations will dedicate at least 25% of their software budget to mobile application development, deployment, and management by 2017 and the number of enterprise applications optimised for mobility will quadruple by 2016. This presents a big opportunity for mobility to transform the way businesses work and to improve customer service. One such example is within the healthcare industry.
In healthcare quality is measured by outcomes. Did the patient receive the right diagnosis and the right care, quickly and safely? Are the patient’s records secure? Providers, insurers and life sciences companies are all focused on patient satisfaction, yet each faces unique challenges when it comes to improving the cost, quality and delivery of patient care.
It has been reported that over 50 percent of healthcare providers switch screens more than six times a day. Moreover, studies show that patients who understand their diagnoses, plan of care and medication routine have better outcomes.
By leveraging business mobility, healthcare providers can access a virtual workspace from any device, in any location. They can finally forget their eight different passwords and spend time focusing on what’s really important: patient care.
As an example, healthcare professionals at Atlantic Health System, which is the amalgamation of five separate hospitals, can access their desktops and applications from any device, anywhere. Everything they can do inside any building, from viewing X-rays to placing orders, can be done remotely. Whether they are traveling, checking-in from home or even fishing, they are now always on and more importantly always available for patients.
The ability for healthcare organisations to enable their desktops to run on a virtual machine (VM) on their central server has a tremendous opportunity to impact patient care. By leveraging VDI, patient information and updates are done in real-time. This not only improves patient safety and drives better outcomes, but also saves 25,000 professionals from Atlantic Health Systems 40 minutes every day.
In a recent study conducted by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and University Hospital in Cleveland, Amy Pound, Director of Medical Student Education in the Emergency Department (ED), estimates that taking advantage of VDI to access patient records saves a maximum of 10 minutes per hour; over an eight-hour shift, that translates into an hour and 20 minutes redirected to patient care per shift. Faster access to patient information and being able to save the information on the screen after numerous interruptions in the ED results in more time being spent on patients.
“The major advantages of the virtual desktop are that it frees the provider to focus on the patient and makes it easy for them to document at the point of care,” said James Millington, group product line marketing manager at VMware, provider of cloud and virtualisation software and services. “If orders enter the system quicker and medications get to the patient sooner, there’s a definite knock on effect to patient care.
VDI on clinical workflow supports clinician mobility. Oftentimes, doctors are interrupted from inputting data into an application on a workstation and then return to find another user using the desktop. With VDI, they can pull up all their information on any other workstation and resume their work, without losing any information.
VDI removes the frustration of having to deal with inconsistent computers, going from one to another and having to determine if it works or not. The doctors can now spend time with patients rather than with the IT help desk and the more time they spend with their patients the better the patient satisfaction, the better care they are getting.
While many healthcare organisations have struggled to get their physicians to embrace electronic medical record systems because of workflow disruptions, and in South Africa we have many issues with legacy systems and patient data control, VDI is helping providers make electronic patient information more accessible yet in a secure manner.
Mobility allows the healthcare providers to work simpler and smarter. With secure, immediate access to accurate information, providers can make point-of-care decisions from anywhere, provide personalised care for their patients while keeping them and their families up to date with real time information from check in, to examination and treatment. The result is a radically improved quality of care and life.