Mar 08 2018

HIMSS 2018: Leveraging IoT to Improve the Patient Experience

Planning, communication and a strong foundation are critical to success, say Kaleida Health's Cletis Earle and CDW's David Frumkin

In designing its recently opened children's hospital, Kaleida Health aimed to give patients, their families and friends a new and better healthcare experience, Vice President and CIO Cletis Earle said.

Sharing Kaleida's story at HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Earle spoke about how Oishei Children's Hospital leverages the Internet of Things and wayfinding technology to reduce anxiety for campus visitors. For example, he said, the organization's electronic health record integrates with its smartphone app  which includes a wayfinding solution that leverages the native mapping tools of a user's device  to provide both appointment alerts and estimated arrival times to patients.

Additionally, once on the hospital's campus, the app provides updated parking information to users, directing them to an open parking space closest to where their appointment is scheduled, as well as guidance through the facility to their appointment location.

"This was a great opportunity to do things differently … but not reinvent the wheel," Earle said.

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IoT Deployments in Healthcare Take a Team Effort

For this and other similar IoT-intensive efforts, planning, communication and a strong supporting infrastructure are crucial, said CDW Healthcare Transformation Practice Leader David Frumkin.

"IoT, in and of itself, means nothing," he said. "It's how you apply it."

Frumkin, however, also stressed that organizations must anticipate disruptions to technology use in the industry and move fast to meet them head-on.

"We live in a world of disruption and healthcare is not immune," he said. "Is your system an Uber or a Yellow Cab? Is your organization positioned to win the future where proactively managing wellness is the standard of care?

Such disruption will come from a blind spot, Frumkin said, and the impact will be swift and leave limited time for course correction. To that end, he said, all architecture decisions must be made to support agile technology stacks.

Frumkin also called great technology deployments the cumulative effort of a great team. He advocated for creating a suggestion box to involve any and all individuals in an organization who are part of patient care in such processes.

Ensure Thorough Training on IoT Solutions 

Earle echoed that sentiment, saying that training staff thoroughly on the ins and outs of such new deployments is crucial not only to better workflow, but also improving patient satisfaction.

"Make sure you provide training for everybody," he said. "It's not set-it-and-forget-it. Because some of this stuff is customized, you have to continue to foster it."

So far, Kaleida has seen a huge uptick in patient satisfaction, Earle said. But such improvements are a continuous process.

"You need to understand where the users are going  our customers," he said. "You really need to focus on that."

For more, check out the articles and videos from HealthTech’s coverage of HIMSS18.

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