For IT vendors, physicians are our patients

From the moment new physicians take the Hippocratic Oath until the day they hang up their stethoscope, they are obligated to devote their full attention to caring for the sick and wounded.

While physicians and other healthcare professionals focus their efforts on supporting the sick, IT professionals are focused on helping that team treat and monitor these patients – securely, quickly and efficiently.

When equipment and IT services are provided to hospitals or other medical institutions, IT vendors should view physicians as their patients. Medical facilities' technology infrastructure should create a concrete solution, using specific technology needed for physicians to perform their jobs more efficiently, and with a higher degree of precision. Technological solutions can help to connect silos within a facility and simplify the orchestration of care.

There has been a growing demand of medical facilities to incorporate tools that allow for accessibility and mobility while working with patients. Physicians, nurses and staff are often hurrying from patient to patient, task to task, and have little time to input notes and test results. By utilizing IT tools, such as tablets, laptops and scanning devices, clinicians are able to successfully treat their patients in less time and with greater accuracy. These technologies are being readily used on the administrative side of medical facilities as well. Coders, patient navigators and other departments are able to utilize these tools to better assist with administrative tasks.

While mobility adds efficiency, drops and scratches happen often in an unpredictable environment like a hospital, so rugged devices are essential. The devices used in these settings need to be durable in order to keep up with those who use them. Advances like water and dust resistance, anti-microbial keyboards and disinfectable displays are features that help users keep up with patient and work demands, without worrying about the reliability of their equipment.

When deciding what tools and technologies will work best for a medical facility, there are many things to consider, where will the device be used, ease of use, connection to the existing network, security and storage capabilities are just a few. One of the most important consideration is security and the use of mobile devices may add to that concern. Mobile and stationary devices are connected to a network carrying medical records and other sensitive information that needs to be secured at all times.

There have been numerous cases in recent years involving security compromises and improved encryption is a possible solution to help mitigate this problem. A move towards biometrics has helped add another layer to the solution of security to determine who can access a file and on what device. Biometric authentication systems, such as palm vein technology, provides accurate patient identification that not only helps organizations combat medical identity theft, but will help reduce medical errors associated with patient identification. As healthcare organizations employ more automated clinical workflows and information sharing across departments, employee identification at each point of access plays an integral role in ensuring the operational efficiency while complying with regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

With the ever-changing IT landscape, especially within the healthcare field, clinicians have to keep up with not only modern medicine, but modern technology. To make sure they're provided with the best possible support, it is imperative that IT providers and vendors diagnose the hospital or medical facility's pain points and offer sound remedies through mobility.

Kevin Wrenn is SVP of PC Business for Fujitsu America. Contact him through Twitter @FujitsuAmerica

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