by Bill French on 07/04/10 at 5:00 am
Bill French is an information architect specializing in Internet applications. He is also the co-founder of MyST Technology Partners and Senior Editor for iPhoneCTO.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, Apple has created a flood of opportunities in workforce management and medical professions with iPhone. The introduction of iPad and the soon to be introduced iPhone HD, expands the possibilities dramatically. Apple’s line of highly successful mobile devices with rigid quality standards are going to have a significant impact on the daily operations of large and small medical organizations.
Geo-location features on iPhone and iPad combined with their extraordinary user interfaces overcomes many of the obstacles that have blocked the full adoption of computers in medical enterprises; the net effect is less paper, faster throughput, lower costs, and better patient care.
For example if we look closely at the trends in hospitals and care centers around the country, physicians and nurses have been adopting the iPhone at a rapid pace and integrating them into their daily professional work. iPad adoption will be even more popular because of its display dimensions and relative portability. Many physicians and care providers use laptops and netbooks, but these devices tend to distract the visual focus of the attending professional away from the patient and toward the keyboard. iPad is less intimidating and far less
distracting as care providers attend to patients.
The adoption of mobile devices by medical professionals is important for labor management, timekeeping, scheduling, and will lead to the reduction of overall paper use and an increased capacity to streamline administrative operations.
Medical care, by nature, is all about mobility. Care providers of all types are typically on the move and under constant time pressure; they have little discretionary time to deal with bulky or complex computing devices. Because of this, iPhone and iPad are being adopted by medical professionals.
Physician and nurse scheduling and timekeeping are critical workflow processes including negotiating, bidding, volunteering, tracking, printing and more. Paper is still used routinely, even in a comprehensive computerized system.
With the iPhone and iPad however, it is now possible to arrange for the doctors and nurses to view their schedules, clock in for the day, sign up for shifts, volunteer for work using their mobile devices. According to Tom Benson, founder of mobile middleware and solution provider Applaise, medical workers don’t
don’t have the latitude to be anchored to a terminal, they require a different mobile approach, extreme agility, and software that doesn’t even feel like software.
“Mobile tools should make the user experience so easy that the user perceives it has no effort at all. No one should have to be persuaded to use software — the benefits should be so immediate and obvious that adoption happens naturally.”
HIS (Hospital Information Systems) are based on a model of rigid data entry on computers, a model of computing whose roots come from mainframe systems developed in the 60s. As such, there is a huge gap between the requirements of a very dynamic mobile staff and static software design. Many medical facilities have employed computers on wheels to to achieve some degree of mobility, but these have limited use and are cumbersome in the realm of medical care.
Based on significant research in this field, Applaise researchers created the Mobile Productivity Cloud concept in which the friendliest and most capable mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad are employed as “instant data connections” to seamlessly capture data or access information with the lowest possible friction.
Benson continues …
“The Mobile Productivity Cloud design was inspired by the dramatic growth of Mobile device use by Physicians and Nurses. They are using mobile to access up-to-the minute medical data, scientific research, patient data, and other medical data. This explosion of use indicates that Mobile devices have crossed the threshold, with user interfaces so easy to use and so intuitive, that they have become a fundamental improvement in daily professional work.”
Well there’s no debate that iPad provides a new element of mobile computing, one that could be significant to the medical industry, adoption and security are key factors to consider when deploying these types of devices and software. David Morgenstern, a writer at ZDNet, suggests that while the hardware is elegant and high-quality, it is the consistent iPad interface that could make a huge difference in the ERP clients. David was also quick to point out that no matter how many millions of dollars are spent in an workforce management solution, the success comes down to one fundamental challenge — will the workforce actually use it?