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Vertical Applications
- Healthcare Applications -

Graphic - courtesy - Clarinet

Healthcare - Introductory Comments 

There are a number of attributes of this industry that make it ideal for employing mobile computing technology. First of all , it is one of the largest industries if you measure its size in terms of the total dollars spent and people employed. It affects us all and therefore, it is also a mission -critical industry - literally. A large number of high-priced professionals - physicians, surgeons and nurses employed in this industry do not render services from a fixed location and are essentially mobile within one or multiple hospitals, clinics or home care institutions. They need to be in constant touch with specialists who can render advice in their specific specialty area of expertise , sometimes from remote locations. 

Traditional versus New Approach
Doctors have, in the past relied on clip boards and bedside charts to track patient's health. Now, it is changing. Doctors are gradually, especially the medical students, interns and younger group, are switching to PDAs and other handheld devices.

Though physicians tend to have a reputation for resisting the move towards computers, they seem to be intrigued by and interested in mobile computing involving untethered (i.e. wireless) connections and specially designed portable devices. They like the idea of calling up patient records, researching a disease and ordering prescriptions from anywhere in the hospital or home.

As examples of healthcare applications, Summit Health Services in Greenburgh, PA, USA has developed MobileNurse, software that enables home-care nurses to access inventory, call up patient records and Medicare information on wireless notebooks, and to compare notes with other care givers. MobileNurse uses the Mobitex Ram network to access a centralized database. Similarly, other hospitals like Grace Hospital use IBM system and hand-held computers for recording vital information being in surgery room.

Additionally, doctors are increasingly using hand-held devices and pen-based Palm Pads connected to hospital LANs to record patient records. As handwriting recognition software improves, so will the use of this technology grow in healthcare.

Business Case for Handhelds in Healthcare
Because of the high cost of physician services, business cases for the use of mobile computing are relatively easy to build. Even small increases in physician productivity or diagnostic accuracy translate into savings sufficient to justify the expense of mobile computing solutions. With the current all-pervasive squeeze on healthcare budgets everywhere, tremendous attention is being paid to the ability of technology to reduce costs.

Final justification for handheld devices for physicians is that doctor's coats lend themselves ideally to the size of handheld devices. You do not need Docker's new Mobile pants!.

Associations - MoHCA
- Mobile Healthcare Alliance - works with heath care professionals to ensure profess
ional practices and patient trust in mobile data applications. 

Veriprise Wireless Corporation has developed  Veriprise Wireless Platform that acts as a wireless infrastructure gateway, which provides data encryption, user authentication and audit reporting. It also provides tool kits to support health care requirements - like privacy , such as HIPAA for secure transfer of information to health providers, and patients, over wireless devices.


Electronic Patient Exit Survey

Emergency Medical Services
Healthcare General Applications
Home Care
Mobile Pharmacy and Prescription from PlanetRx
Patient Alarm Notification Systems
Patient Records, Bed Visits by Doctors
Remote Prescription & Specimen Management Services

Early adopters

  • Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA finished testing in mid 2001, a mobile infrared system which allows doctors to synchronize their patients history information and download treatment plans that is available for that patient from one of four infrared stations.  The system is based on MercuryMD Inc.'s Staging database and client software with Extended System's XtendConnectServer. The system provides room number, and all the lab, radiology, and other information that is current at that moment.  Saving was in wasted time at a workstation to check patient records. The hospital chose infrared stations because of the cost ($50,000 for infrared versus projected $500,000 for wireless). Wireless is a future option. The hospital was able to come up with a good business case. Apart from physician's productivity improvement, pharmacies and labs save (one hour per day  12-15%).

  • MDOfices.Com Inc. has signed up with IBM for a service (available in October 2001) that allows doctors to record patient notes on Pocket PC devices using spoken commands. This information is housed in IBM p660 and p640 Unix servers.  The notes are verified and transcribed by an outside service.  Then it is e-mailed to patient's pharmacies or labs for prescriptions or tests. Average price is $3.00 per page of transcription service. This is less sophisticated but does automate some of the processes. And it saves money, according to the customer.

Related Resources:
More healthcare Applications
Vertical Industry Application index
Horizontal Industry Application index


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