Jumpstarting mobility strategy: 4 thoughts from UMC of Southern Nevada CIO Ernie McKinley

UMC of Southern Nevada is in the midst of an EHR transition, leaving behind McKesson Horizon for Epic. The hospital is using the new EHR as a launching pad for its new mobility strategy.

Ernie McKinley, CIO of UMC of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, describes how his hospital is approaching the world of mobile technology and what the hospital hopes to achieve.     

Editor's note: Interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.

Question: How is UMC of Southern Nevada leveraging mobile technology?

Ernie McKinley: We are not using mobile technology as much as we would like to. As we replace our EHR with Epic, we intend to push much further into the mobile arena. Epic's EHR offers more apps and a more mobile friendly environment.

Q: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in this area?

EM: I have been having a lot of conversations with my security, privacy and HIPAA officer. Security is really our biggest concern when it comes to mobile technology. It is a little early in the security planning stage, but we want all the devices in use registered with the hospital. We need to know who has each device and what's on it.

Right now, we have mobile device management software installed for our BYOD program. The devices are registered and can be wiped remotely. But, we just have a few doctors who use the BYOD program. As soon as we have better offerings in the mobile area, we will have a bigger contingent of interested caregivers.

We are focused on getting tablets into the hands of all caregivers. Tablets will enable bedside documentation, as well as 24/7 access to patients for providers.

Q: How will the hospital's security strategy evolve to keep up with mobility?

EM: Things can easily get stolen. People can pick up a phone and walk away with it. We don't want any protected health information actually on devices. A device lost is tantamount to a couple hundred of dollars, but losing data could shut us down.

The devices we use as part of our mobility strategy won't actually store data. Physicians won't download and review data, encrypted or unencrypted, on their devices. The device will just be a vehicle to log into our system. When the physician logs out, the data will not reside on the device. Rather, it will live on our servers.

Q: How will the hospital's mobility strategy change over the next few years?

EM: We are going to be handling a whole lot more devices. Management is going to get tougher, as will security. We want to do more with secure mobile-to-mobile messaging. The Epic EHR has so much more to offer. That will definitely change our strategy.

Q: Will you be relying on any third parties to help with this transition to a more mobile hospital?

EM: We have been working with Extreme Networks for a long time. We are very happy with their hardware, but more than the hardware it is the relationship we have built with the people we work with. The team that is on the phone or comes out to the hospital knows who we are. The level of customer service they give us is beyond any other company I have worked with. They are truly a partner. At no cost to us, the make sure we are moving in the right direction and give us advice, whether for their gear or not.

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