Term Paper: Use of Mobile Devices in Hospitals to Help Reduce Healthcare Costs

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¶ … Mobile Devices in Hospitals to Help Reduce Healthcare Costs

Healthcare technologies are constantly evolving in what is an industry that requires high volumes of information be retained. The impact that technology has had upon healthcare is enormous and the improvement to communication in healthcare between healthcare professionals and among healthcare departments in the hospital has enabled optimization of many healthcare functions and processes. Management of costs in the healthcare industry are enabled through the implementation of mobile computing and communication technology. The 'Telemedicine Information Exchange' which claims to be "...an unbiased and all-inclusive platform for information Telemedicine and telehealth" reports in the work entitled: "Hospitals Unplugged: The Wireless Revolution Reaches Healthcare" the fact that the patient's information may be entered into the hospital information system "even before the patient enters the hospital..." (Wachter, 2001) This tracking and monitoring of patient conditions in real-time as well as patient information already stored is a process that enables the hospital to greatly reduce medical errors and save enormous amounts in costs.

THE USE of MOBILE DEVICES in HOSPITALS to HELP REDUCE HEALTHCARE COSTS

Introduction

Literature Review

Analysis

Bibliography

THE USE of MOBILE DEVICES in HOSPITALS to HELP REDUCE HEALTHCARE COSTS

INTRODUCTION

Healthcare technologies are constantly evolving in what is an industry that requires high volumes of information be retained. The impact that technology has had upon healthcare is enormous and the improvement to communication in healthcare between healthcare professionals and among healthcare departments in the hospital has enabled optimization of many healthcare functions and processes. Management of costs in the healthcare industry are enabled through the implementation of mobile computing and communication technology.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The work of Christine Harland Williams entitled: "How Mobile Physician Order Entry Can Help Healthcare Providers Reduce Costs" published in Computing Unplugged magazine relates that today's healthcare professionals acknowledge that Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) and mobile technologies are trends in information technology that will greatly affect the future of the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry's stakeholders are applying pressure for implementation of the Computerized Physician Order Entry system due to instances of medical errors and patient safety not to mention potential reduction in rates of errors at focus in state legislation related to the need to reduce the liability costs to hospitals due to lawsuits relating to medical errors. Williams states that only 3% of hospitals present use the Computerized Physician Order Entry system.

Handheld devices along with other mobile technology devices are reported by Williams to have been much more readily adopted in hospitals. Presently, there is an ongoing initiative to develop handheld with an integrated CPOE system with expectations for "full functionality on all platforms: computer workstations, rolling laptops, tablet PCs and handheld devices." (Williams, 2008) Williams reports that a private healthcare centric software company, MercuryMD, "believes that the widespread adoption of CPOE and mobile technology in healthcare will come about only through the adoption of a new category of systems it calls 'mobile physician order entry' or MPOE." (2008) the MPOE system is stated to be user-friendly with limited intelligence but with functions that are "high-yield...that do not merely mimic comprehensive CPOE systems onto smaller devices but are different from CPOE in form, function, and implementation." (Williams, 2008) Drawbacks to the CPOE system include the complexity in their use, the requirement that the user is trained extensively, resulting in very low adoption rates of CPOE.

The 'Telemedicine Information Exchange' which claims to be "...an unbiased and all-inclusive platform for information telemedicine and telehealth" reports in the work entitled: "Hospitals Unplugged: The Wireless Revolution Reaches Healthcare" the fact that the patient's information may be entered into the hospital information system "even before the patient enters the hospital..." (Wacheter, 2001) Critical cases often call for paramedics to call ahead to the emergency department to prepare the waiting medical team. However, with a wireless-based video system, video images, audio, vital signs, and ECG rhythm strips can be captured and sent from a moving ambulance. Images can be automatically captured from a moveable camera in the ceiling of the ambulance, above the patient's head. This information is reviewed in real or near-real time by not only the ED team, but also other tertiary center specialists." (Wachter, 2001)

An example of a system that is integrated for patient monitoring is the 'Acuity LT Wireless System'. This system's components are shows in the following figure and include: (1) Propaq LTR; (2) Access points; (3) Micropaq patient monitors; (4) Wireless Propaq CS portable monitors; (5) the Switch; (6) a laser printer; (7) Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs); (8) Acuity Central Station (Display and CPU); and the (9) external modem.

Acuity LT Wireless System

Source: Telemedicine Information Exchange (2008)

The report entitled: "Jupiter Medical Center Uses Joints Solution for Mobile Patient Information Access to Reduce Costs, Streamline Processes and Improve Patient Care" published in 2007 relates that the health care provider, Jupiter Medical Center has adopted use of a joint wireless solution provided by at&T and Palm, Inc. In delivering McKesson's Horizon MobileCare Rounding solution. These technologies combined have served to enable the physicians of Jupiter Medical Center in accessing patient information both "...in or outside the hospital - to support more informed decision-making and improved workflow." (2007)

The work of Wales and Zabrek (2003) entitled: "What's New in Mobile Computing for Healthcare" relates that "the Dotcom era is over. Customers are no longer snapping up the latest technical gadgets just because they are new. No longer are they uncritically upgrading to the next version of software. And no longer are they purchasing products and services without an understanding of how they benefit the bottom line and fit into overall business objectives." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) the healthcare industry is one that has a great opportunity in that "Health care remains the only American industry that has never fully embraced information technology or automated its most basic processes." (Wall Street Journal report cited in Wales and Zabrek, 2003) Near team in health care technology needs is focused on an effort "to connect mobile front-end devices and back-end servers that hold stores of medical and administrative data." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) Playing a central role are Pocket PCs, Microsoft Smartphones, Pocket PC Phone Editions, and XP Tablet PCs.

Because stationary terminals while distributed throughout the hospital allow for physicians in accessing information however, because the terminals are stationary, "information is not available at the point-of-care where it will do the most good." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) in addition, the requirement exists for double entry of the information, which is inefficient and tends to drive up costs of healthcare and a reduction in the time the physician is able to spend in direct patient care. Wales and Zabrek report that in a study conducted by Electronic Data Systems following nurses while at work found that nurses spent ten percent of their time at work on walking while spending 17% on documentation and administration duties and only 33% of their time being spent on patient care. Automation of these activities with mobile devices was found to be a solution that would reduce costs and optimize care of patients. Microsoft's Smartphone and Pocket PC phone are "a new class of cell phones that offers not only voice but data capabilities. It is the result of adding PDA functions to the cell phone minus the touch screen to enhance durability. These phones are variously known as data-capable, Web-enabled, or 'smart' phones." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003)

One example of these is the Smartphone by Microsoft with "data capabilities and the familiar Windows interface." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) There is also a new class of personal digital assistants with added phone capabilities and "without significantly increasing the overall size or weight or changing the ergonomics of the device." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) Additionally, "Add-on modem cards can even turn an ordinary Pocket PC with Compact Flash slot into a full-fledged voice and data device complete with Web browsing." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003) Smart cell phones and phone-capable PDAs are stated by Wales and Zabrek to be "one of the more creative uses" in enhancing the education of patients and in allowing them to management their own medical conditions. Patients are able to browse the Web for information regarding their health problems and even communicate that information to their physicians and other healthcare providers. Wales and Zabrek relates that a Jupiter Communications report released in January 2000 states findings that 45% of individuals in the United States go to the Internet to locate health information. Furthermore, insurance companies report benefits to patients from cellphone and PDA usage, which provide "convenient, cost-effective ways to inform and connect with their members." (Wales and Zabrek, 2003)

The Tablet PC makes provision of a tool for health care professions that does not replace but complement the Pocket PC and comes in two basic configurations. The first is much like the traditional laptop in that it comes with an attached keyboard with a pivot on the display to convert into a tablet. The second… [END OF PREVIEW]

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