The Real Innovation Enabling Healthcare Access On The Go

by Mark Wechsler | Arrow Systems Integration

The days of a telephone being a telephone are gone. Information may come in all sorts of formats including voice, data, images, and video. Nowhere is this more applicable than for highly mobile healthcare professionals. The combination of wireless telephones, smartphones, and modern middleware enables us to deliver healthcare information access on the go for everyone.

The ability to deliver healthcare information access on the go is, in part, due to improvements made to in-building wireless systems. Most 900Mhz voice systems have been replaced with Voice Over Wi-Fi (wireless VoIP) and IP-DECT wireless access systems. Modern wireless endpoints are now available with features such as web browsers and integrated scanners. The use of smartphones expands access beyond the physical walls of the enterprise.

However, the real innovation esnabling healthcare information access on the go is the newest generation of middleware. These tools are unlike middleware engines (e.g., Emergin) that have been on the market for some time. These “legacy” tools are primarily conversion engines that are frequently priced in the upper 6 digit atmosphere and often require expert programming knowledge for customization, maintenance, and support. Today’s middleware more easily facilitates multi-media information access and collaboration. Their embedded workflow processors assure the right information reaches the right person, and they do it securely and independent of user devices. Best of all, today’s middleware suppliers are pre-packaging common functions to enable rapid, cost effective rollouts.

By way of example, EXTENSION is one of the next-generation middleware suppliers that extends the reach of clinical information system events for healthcare professionals. Their HealthAlert package of HIPAA compliant interactive voice/data apps allows almost any wireless telephone and smartphone to be used for messaging and information access by healthcare professionals and patients for:

  • Nurse Call / Code Alerts: combining alerts from nurse call systems with ADT and EHR systems with callback.
  • Critical Test Result Notifications: notifies responsible clinicians of lab and radiology values. All of this is done with auto-dial functionality and closed loop communication with the lab or radiology tech.
  • Availability Alerts: sending full radiology, cardiology, and pathology reports.
  • CPOE / Stat Order Notifications:- alerts nursing of patient orders.
  • Device / Desktop Messaging: enables HIPAA compliant, non-SMS messages between users.

Middleware the likes of EXTENSION’s HealthAlert assures information is in the hands of clinicians when and where it is needed. The result is nearly instantaneous healthcare information access on the go between physicians and nurses and improved responsiveness to patient needs.

The next generation of middleware is available today. Based upon our experience at Arrow SI with EXTENSION, I am a believer in our ability to deliver cost effective, efficient healthcare information access on the go for nurses, physicians, administrators, and staff. We are proving that a phone can be much more than a phone. With the right combination of wireless telephones, smartphones, and modern middleware we are delivering healthcare information access on the go for everyone.

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