In a first for an Australian hospital, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is fast-tracking support for bring-your-own-devices being used by visiting medical officers (VMOs) and staff on the move.
This support, first launched in June 2012, is now available to all hospital staff that are using tablets, smart phones and laptops with built-in wireless data viewing capabilities.
“To my knowledge, this is one of the first such projects to be rolled out at a government-funded public hospital,” says Nuno Goncalves, chief information officer, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
“BYOD support is now available to all staff that wish to take up this option, Goncalves says. “At present, between 40 to 45 per cent of staff have registered for BYOD support in some form. We expect this demand to grow substantially.”
The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital handles more than 180,000 outpatient cases annually. As Australia’s leading provider of eye, ear, nose and throat care services, it maintains an international reputation as a specialist clinical care, research and training hospital, spanning more than a century.
Support for mobile devices helps modernise the hospital’s outpatient service delivery programme – while enabling VMOs and other staff to more readily access patient data and supporting information.
“By allowing clinicians to bring in their own devices, the hospital can manage the cost of running on-site personal computers or laptops,” says Goncalves.
The hospital is recording a drop in the cost of running on-site computer systems, since launching this BYOD support.
Integration is being provided between mobile devices and back-office medical information. This integration will enable staff to more readily view patient data that resides in back-office systems.
Hospital services available within BYOD are the same as those previously offered for remote access. These services are being provisioned wirelessly, with built-in security and authentication features.
“No medical data is actually stored on a mobile device,” notes Goncalves. “We are mindful about the security and privacy aspects. Devices accessing the hospital’s information systems have to be certified before-hand by the hospital’s ICT department.”
The 20-30 age demographics is much more open to mobile devices and applications. “It’s a matter of time before we see more wide-spread use of BYOD in healthcare.”
Demand for BYOD is growing at Australian hospitals, says a new study by Deloitte Australia. This study, Debunking Myths Surrounding the Technology Journey for Digital Hospitals, notes that in a mobile environment, clinicians expect information-access when and where they need it, and in a way that is easy to access and view.
Among the trends, clinicians working across multiple healthcare facilities, often in time-critical health care environments, are more receptive to BYOD apps.
“Many clinical staff, particularly private providers working in public and private hospitals want to be able to incorporate information from the hospital into their own clinical information systems.”
Hospitals must build mobile device support into an overall healthcare information system. “This integration has to be from the ground up, rather than adding this support as an after-thought.”
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