Bridging The IT And Clinical Engineering Gap

By Richard Neff, U.S. Head
General Electric Healthcare Services Division
Published: October 2014
Health Management Technology

Consider the journey of a patient who enters a hospital for treatment.  His stay will be impacted by a number of factors from the time he is admitted to the time he is discharged.  Key among those, as the patient works his way through treatment, is how quickly his information, such as waveforms, test results and medications, is logged, processed and shared. In this regard, the burgeoning use of mobile and other network devices has become an enabler, as it enables faster information flow, quicker decision-making and ultimately better patient care. However, these same technologies can also present significant challenges for healthcare providers, especially when coupled with complex and often changing regulatory requirements.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture has exploded.  A survey conducted last year by Epocrates, a medical application developer, found that 86 percent of clinicians are using their smartphones for professional activities, and 53 percent of those clinicians are also using tablets.  These devices require wireless networks to support the applications physicians rely on.  While many healthcare providers have recognized this trend and allow their clinicians to use mobile devices, fewer are engaged in regulating use. According to a recent Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey, 83 percent of providers report that their physicians use mobile technology to provide patient care, but only 59 percent have a policy in place that regulates the use of these devices and outlines a mobile strategy.

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