HealthTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare en Next-Generation Patient Engagement Technology Enhances Patient Outcomes <span>Next-Generation Patient Engagement Technology Enhances Patient Outcomes</span> <div><p>Facing increasing financial penalties for generating high readmission rates, hospital administrators, staff and clinicians strive to ensure that patients released from their facilities don’t pay a quick return visit. Yet despite the widespread use of many new medical, social and business methodologies, <strong>readmission rates have remained stubbornly high</strong>.</p> <p>Now, after years of frustration and soaring penalties, healthcare providers have zeroed in on patient engagement and satisfaction as a way to <strong>hammer down readmission rates</strong>. Sophisticated mobile and fixed devices, powered by multimedia, social media, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies, are improving patient care and helping providers make more informed decisions on both treatments and long-term support.</p> <p>A robust technology framework and support infrastructure are essential to creating, deploying and managing patient engagement devices and applications. Each provider turning to engagement technologies in an effort to drive down readmissions has its own unique goals and needs. From network solutions and access points to applications, storage and processing, technology vendors ensure that a robust and reliable foundation is in place to ensure a positive experience for both patients and providers.</p> <p><strong>To learn more download our white paper "Next-Generation Patient Engagement Technology Enhances Patient Outcomes."</strong></p> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/24/2018 - 11:22</span> <img src="/sites/" width="2120" height="1414" alt="doctor and patient using tablet" typeof="foaf:Image" /> <div> <div>Document File</div> <div><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=164165">white-paper-engagement-technology.pdf</a></span> </div> </div> Thu, 24 May 2018 15:22:51 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40951 at How to Push Through Cultural Barriers to Enable Healthcare Mobility Programs <span>How to Push Through Cultural Barriers to Enable Healthcare Mobility Programs</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/22/2018 - 15:25</span> <div><p>There’s no doubt mobility in healthcare is on the rise. In fact, by 2022, <strong>97 percent of nurses will use smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices</strong> at the bedside, according to a new report by <a href="" target="_blank">Zebra Technologies</a>, “<a href=";tactic_detail=HC_2022+Hospital+Vision+Study,_2022+Hospital+Vision+Study,_GL_None" target="_blank">The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study</a>.”</p> <p>Messaging is especially taking off in the healthcare space, as <a href="">secure messaging strategies take root in healthcare organizations</a> to streamline clinician contact and improve patient outcomes in the long run.</p> <p>“Secure messaging wasn’t even on the radar for most hospitals four years ago, and <strong>now we track 16 vendors in the space</strong>,” Jonathan Christensen, director of research analysis at KLAS Research, said in an earlier interview. “As more functionality like barcode scanning and lab results makes it into the apps, you’re going to see a consolidation into a single device.”</p> <p>Despite the widespread acceptance of text messaging, resistance from doctors and IT is common when deploying a secure messaging platform.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Hospital Staff Fear Bulky Mobility Programs</h2> <p>So, what are some common cultural challenges for clinicians and hospital staff when it comes to secure text messaging?</p> <p>Some worry about the intrusiveness of an app.</p> <p>“In the beginning, some of the doctors were nervous about how it would affect workflow,” says David Yi, chief medical information officer at <a href="" target="_blank">Mary Washington Healthcare</a>.</p> <p>Other users simply don’t want another device to manage.</p> <p>At <a href="" target="_blank">NewYork-Presbyterian</a>, which uses Mobile Heartbeat, devices are shared throughout the day. This puts an <strong>additional burden on the IT and telecom departments</strong> for support.</p> <p>“People take care of their own devices better,” says Leo Bodden, vice president and CTO. Even with these small issues, Yi and Bodden say using a secure communication platform is no different than using any other new technology.</p> <p>“Identifying key stakeholders and their concerns, and <strong>explaining the technology to alleviate unfounded fears</strong>, is what it takes to get it done,” Yi says.</p> <p>To learn more about how healthcare organizations are making secure messaging programs a success, check out our feature article, “<a href="">Providers Evolve their Messaging Strategies to Boost Clinician Communication</a>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/karen-j-bannan" hreflang="en">Karen J. Bannan</a></div> </div> Tue, 22 May 2018 19:25:07 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40946 at Ethical Considerations Must Take Precedence in Precision Medicine <span>Ethical Considerations Must Take Precedence in Precision Medicine</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26806" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">daniel.bowman_26806</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:07</span> <div><p>Precision medicine offers the potential for patients to receive medical care tailored to their needs. But ethical considerations must be top of mind for providers on the giving end of such treatments, says Paul Ford, director of the Center for Bioethics at <a href="" target="_blank">Cleveland Clinic</a>.</p> <p>At the <a href="" target="_blank">Precision Medicine Summit</a> in Washington, D.C., last week, Ford talked about issues providers must weigh regarding the delivery of such care: <strong>who will receive it, affordability issues, concerns about technology</strong> as it relates to device design. To the latter point, he says, innovation oftentimes takes place well in advance of regulation.</p> <p>“There is an increased responsibility for designers, developers and specialists to design the technologies in a good and reflective way,” Ford says. “It’s our responsibility to try to predict what the challenges are going to be in the future if policy isn’t there to guide us.”</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Sacrificing Resources for One Versus Many</h2> <p>Where precision medicine ethics become interesting is when one important aspect of care must be sacrificed for another, he says. Both providers and patients must ask themselves what’s important in their choices and who is bearing what cost moving forward.</p> <p>The classic case in cancer is a patient weighing a longer life versus a higher quality of life, Ford says. “Which one are you going to give up to some degree? … Sensitivity, specificity, this looks like a scientific choice — it is based on good information — but it’s an ethical choice.”</p> <p>Additionally, <strong>only so many resources can be committed to one patient without taking away resources from another patient</strong>, he says. For every patient receiving an innovative treatment, another who is out of frame goes without.</p> <p>“What’s at stake, and who might pay the cost of that?” Ford says. “Sometimes it is all the kids in the local community who aren’t going to get free care for them because you want this one high-tech intervention.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Clinicians Must Weigh ‘Value Choices’</h2> <p>The <strong>inclination for many patients is to go toward high-tech interventions</strong>, Ford says. Clinicians, however, often want to be sure about a diagnosis or to verify that something is responsive.</p> <p>For their part, clinicians must always be forthright about their intent, he says.</p> <p>“When we order testing, we should always be clear that this is really to help substantiate with a clinical diagnosis, and it’s not just to make a clinician feel better about what they already have a good sense is going on,” Ford says. “You have to ask yourself, ‘When is a new intervention an investment ... and when is it simply a gamble with resources?’ These are value choices.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-bowman" hreflang="en">Dan Bowman</a></div> </div> Tue, 22 May 2018 14:07:12 +0000 daniel.bowman_26806 40941 at To Make Precision Medicine a Reality, Start Small and Expand <span>To Make Precision Medicine a Reality, Start Small and Expand</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:15</span> <div><p>The hopes for precision medicine are high. More personalized care, led by data, offers patients better health outcomes and clinicians more time back in their day. As wearables, artificial intelligence and health apps begin to pour reams of patient data into the health system, the path to more ubiquitous PMI may seem to be on fast-forward, but the truth is that there are still hundreds of hurdles to jump, particularly around pharmaceutical costs and social equity.</p> <p>So how can providers begin to move toward the idealized future that PMI offers? The answer, according to experts at the <a href="" target="_blank">Precision Medicine Summit</a> in Washington, D.C., is to <strong>start by dipping a toe into precision medicine programs</strong> before taking the plunge.</p> <p>“You don’t boil the ocean; you boil pockets in that ocean, you boil pieces, and you let the system connect it,” said Peter Bergathon, vice president and head of quantitative medicine and clinical technologies at neuroscience company Biogen, speaking on the panel “Wearables, AI and Biology: A New Triad for Precision Medicine,” on May 18. “You don’t force everyone into the same monolithic [model].”</p> <p>Already, wins in the precision medicine space have improved patient experience and physician workflow on a small scale. At the <a href="" target="_blank">Mayo Clinic</a>, for example, a partnership with <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> Watson for Clinical Trial Matching that tapped artificial intelligence to match breast cancer patients with clinical trials they could be eligible for <a href="">prompted an 80 percent jump in enrollment in trials</a>.</p> <p>“We’re doing little things and <strong>taking little steps to start bringing that technology to light in real ways</strong>,” said Aviva deBeer, global solutions executive for digital health at IBM Watson Health.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">The Way Forward with PMI: Research, 5G and Failure</h2> <p>Providers can expand these smaller efforts by tapping into areas where research has already begun and algorithms already exist to begin focusing on personalized care.</p> <p>“It’s time for us to actually bring some of this to ground,” says Bergathon, pointing to diseases where clinicians already possess insights, such as Parkinson’s, where the motor aspects of the disease are well understood. “The fact is, in a lot of ways, there are certain areas like [Parkinson’s disease] that are ready to move forward … We’ll agree to share data, we’ll look at data, we’ll look at methods and we’ll use methods to bring these tools into community practice — to the FDA, to physicians — and it’s time to do that.”</p> <p>Bergathon believes there are already <strong>“half a dozen” areas where expansion can begin</strong>, such as EKGs and blood-pressure monitors.</p> <p>“The way is there, and it’s time for us to do it,” said Bergathon.</p> <p>Further, advances in underlying infrastructure could also push forward the technology aspects of precision medicine initiatives. 5G is one area that offers to bolster PMI.</p> <p>“5G, which will be available in the next year, [will enable] the transport of large pieces of data from multiple sources to <strong>create a </strong><strong>true</strong><strong> connected care opportunity for patients</strong>,” said Derek Corthoran, senior vice president of client strategy and development at EnvoyHealth. He notes that the ability of 5G to enable IoT will help address the more complex aspects of connected care, including affordability and access. “That’s the one enabler we’re patiently waiting on.”</p> <p>As providers pursue pilot programs that seek to personalize care and bring patients more closely into the fold, however, they should be aware that even with the right technology, data and mindset, PMI programs are difficult and not all will be a success.</p> <p>“We’re seeing companies start to see some of those consumer tactics into healthcare in a way that will work, but we’re struggling for ways to do it well. The challenge there is that <strong>you fail a lot more before you succeed</strong>,” said deBeer. “How many Blockbusters were there before there was Netflix? A lot.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Mon, 21 May 2018 16:15:03 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40936 at How to Get Precision Medicine to ‘Stick’ in Healthcare <span>How to Get Precision Medicine to ‘Stick’ in Healthcare </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26806" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">daniel.bowman_26806</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/18/2018 - 14:29</span> <div><p>While precision medicine continues to gain steam nationwide, its success will hinge, in large part, on providers meeting patients on the patient’s terms, rather than the other way around, says Sam Hanna, a program director of healthcare informatics and analytics at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.</p> <p>“<strong>It’s about that patient wherever they are</strong>,” said Hanna, speaking May 17 at the Precision Medicine Summit in Washington, D.C. “In their autonomous car, in their home, having a phone in their pocket that measures how many steps they’ve taken … all of these things that provide that holistic view of that patient.”</p> <p>In order to get precision medicine to “stick,” providers must ask patients what they want, and not just tell patients what they have, if at all, he said. <strong>Healthcare professionals must ensure patients understand what precision medicine is</strong> and what it means to them to build demand.</p> <p>“Academics do a great job of publishing things in journals,” Hanna said. “The challenge is to get these things out to the public. If a patient knew what’s available to them, they will be asking for these things.”</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Healthcare Providers Are Drowning in Data</h2> <p>Additionally, <strong>healthcare organizations must prioritize the protection of the data being created</strong> and used, while also ensuring appropriate and ethical use. Such efforts, however, are easier said than done, Hanna warned, especially with the high volume of unstructured data entering the mix.</p> <p>While some organizations — <a href="" target="_blank">Mayo Clinic and the Scripps Translational Science Institute</a>, for instance — have already made many of the infrastructure changes necessary to handle the anticipated influx of information, many more providers have not and cannot.</p> <p>“We don’t have the mechanisms, the computing power or the skill sets, in some cases, to address all this,” he said. “We have some amazing knowledge, in this room and beyond; we have some amazing tools and technologies, but only a fraction of our scientific and knowledge population actually knows what to do with it.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks</a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">5G Will Power Personalized Care</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Implementation of 5G</a> cellular networks will also be critical to precision medicine’s growth and expansion, Hanna said. A report published last fall by the University of California, Berkeley and Qualcomm said that <strong>5G will be a “substantial enabler” of a new era of personalized healthcare</strong> by allowing organizations to leverage large amounts of patient-specific data they can use to develop predictive analytics.</p> <p>Despite extensive work ensuring widespread use of electronic health records and the uptick in personal devices, the <strong>current lack of 5G limits the industry’s capabilities</strong>, Hanna said. </p> <p>“We are talking a lot about <strong>IoT and connected devices and wearables</strong> that are starting to come to fruition,” he said. “But they’re not fully there because until we get 5G in place, it’s not going to be as pervasive.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-bowman" hreflang="en">Dan Bowman</a></div> </div> Fri, 18 May 2018 18:29:47 +0000 daniel.bowman_26806 40931 at Why Technology for Physician Education Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury <span>Why Technology for Physician Education Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/17/2018 - 12:02</span> <div><p>Technology continues to change the way healthcare professionals deliver care to patients, enabling faster collaboration and improving workflow processes. Thanks to mobile devices and processes, such as secure text messaging, organizations today are <a href="">better equipped to provide quality support</a> to individuals with fewer inconveniences or interruptions.</p> <p>At the same time, digital tools are also evolving the way clinicians hone their craft. The <a href="">University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine</a>, for instance, uses telemedicine tools via Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) to connect university-based specialists with primary-care clinicians to allow for <strong>faster, more efficient knowledge sharing</strong>.</p> <p>Telemedicine, though, represents just one of several ways technology is reshaping physician education.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">For New Doctors, AR and VR Are Not Foreign Concepts</h2> <p>At the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, for instance, virtual and augmented reality are helping to train clinicians to “more skillfully handle delicate interactions with patients,” according to an <a href="" target="_blank">article</a> published earlier this year in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em>. Skip Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the organization, says such tools allow doctors, nurses and others to <strong>“mess up a bunch” prior to working in the trenches for real</strong>.</p> <p>And because VR and AR are more prominent now than ever before, he says, incorporating the technology into a learning environment isn’t a foreign concept.</p> <p>“We draw in a digital generation of young service members who are at home with this technology,” Rizzo says.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">MedStar Simulation Training &amp; Education Lab</a> (MedStar SiTEL) in Washington, D.C., also <a href="">takes</a><a href=""> advantage of VR for training</a>, using <a href="" target="_blank">HTC Vive</a> VR headsets to bring clinicians together in <strong>lifelike, 3D simulations of a modern emergency room</strong>. According to MedStar SiTEL Director William Sheahan, such efforts, so far, are proving to be “as good or better than traditional training methods.”</p> <p>Other organizations benefitting from the use of such tools to better educate clinicians include Ponoma, Calif.-based <a href="">Western University of Health Sciences</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Rush University Medical Center in Chicago</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Case Western Reserve University</a> in Cleveland, the latter of which <a href="">uses Microsoft’s HoloLens for anatomy and pharmacology training</a>.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">Improving the ‘Webside Manner’ of Clinicians</h2> <p>According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, <strong>84 medical schools</strong> included telemedicine as a topic in required or elective courses in the 2016-17 academic year, up from 57 institutions in 2013-14. The goal, according to an <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=AAMCNews042518" target="_blank">article in AAMCNews</a>, is to<strong> prepare future doctors to use telemedicine technology</strong>.</p> <p>Dr. Rahul Sharma, associate professor of clinical medicine and emergency physician-in-chief at <a href="">NewYork Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medicine</a>, called learning telehealth skills “essential” to training new doctors, while Dr. Neal Sikka, associate professor of emergency medicine at the <a href="">George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences</a>, stressed the importance of clinicians learning better “webside manner.”</p> <p>“<strong>There’s really an art to providing a good video consultation</strong> that needs to be taught, just like we teach bedside manner and patient interviewing skills,” Sikka said.</p> <p>And similar to how Nevada clinicians take advantage of Project ECHO, nurses and physicians at <a href="" target="_blank">CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Sulphur Springs</a>, Texas, are <a href="">leveraging technologies from Access Physicians</a> to learn new procedures and practice at the top of their licensure.</p> <p>To better train tomorrow’s clinicians today, healthcare organizations must continue to develop strategies that emphasize technology, not as a luxury, but a necessity.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>HealthTech<em>’s <a href="">MonITor blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using <a href="">#WellnessIT</a>.</em></p> <p><em><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="MonITor_logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11386" hreflang="en">Tom Maloney</a></div> </div> Thu, 17 May 2018 16:02:53 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40926 at Real-Time Location Systems Help Hospitals Track the Chaos <span>Real-Time Location Systems Help Hospitals Track the Chaos</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/16/2018 - 15:26</span> <div><p>It’s no secret that hospitals are enormous organizations with huge legions of clinicians, staff and other assets — both human and tech related. But keeping track of these assets can be a monumental task, and one that, even when managed well, doesn’t offer <strong>complete visibility</strong> into the day-to-day frenzy of hospital operations.</p> <p>As patients and hospital staff alike begin to expect a more streamlined experience, real-time location systems can help offer that visibility that managers and others need to streamline hospital processes and properly allocate resources. The use of RTLS in healthcare organizations is <a href="" target="_blank">on the rise</a>, in fact, as CIOs and operations managers seek out workflow efficiencies and cost savings by employing the systems in the form of <strong>tags or badges on equipment and personnel</strong>.</p> <p>A recent study by <a href="" target="_blank">Zebra Technologies</a> entitled “<a href=";tactic_detail=HC_2022+Hospital+Vision+Study,_2022+Hospital+Vision+Study,_GL_None" target="_blank">The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study</a>,” notes that the simple act of getting lost on the way to patient rooms or trying to track down a missing nurse can <strong>cost hours of lost productivity</strong> for staff. Not to mention that time spent wandering hallways make the patient experience more</p> <p>“In an effort to curtail these losses and increase visibility, hospitals are adopting real-time location systems (RTLS) and mobile computing to automatically track the real-time geographic location of everything from <strong>equipment, supplies </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> pharmaceuticals</strong> to <strong>patients and staff</strong>,” the report states.</p> <p>And when it comes to the staff themselves, there’s also plenty of advantages to having man-hours be fully visible to managers or operations teams, particularly during times when assets might be particularly scattered, such as during or directly after a hospital relocation.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Parkland Health Taps RTLS to Revamp Staff Management</h2> <p>To determine the most efficient way to transfer patients <a href="">after a move to its new campus</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Parkland Health &amp; Hospital System</a> deployed RTLS technology and data analytics.</p> <p>The hospital’s executives engaged their internal Operational Excellence team, which used RTLS technology to monitor how people moved through the new campus, then plotted out the fastest routes, says Senior Vice President and CIO Matthew Kull. Electronic tags can measure the signal strength between each wireless access point and <strong>locate a person to within 6 feet</strong>.</p> <p>“We tracked everyone using real-time location technology and applied statistical analysis on what we thought a transport agent’s endurance would be,” Kull says. “For instance, if you are pushing patients all day long, you can’t work an eight-hour shift. We conducted studies around that and utilized the data collected to devise our plan.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/wylie-wong" hreflang="en">Wylie Wong</a></div> </div> Wed, 16 May 2018 19:26:19 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40921 at Healthcare Organizations Nab Efficiencies and Improved Productivity with Citrix Tools <span>Healthcare Organizations Nab Efficiencies and Improved Productivity with Citrix Tools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/14/2018 - 12:02</span> <div><p>In September 2016, about a year after Jonathan Smith joined California-based <a href="" target="_blank">North County Health Services</a> as its vice president of IT, the healthcare organization <a href="" target="_blank">experienced a bomb threat</a>.</p> <p>The organization, which had adopted <a href="" target="_blank">Citrix</a> technology around 2012 but only transitioned all employees to using the company’s <a href=";wclsscat=&amp;b=&amp;p=&amp;ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">XenMobile</a> and <a href=";pCurrent=1&amp;b=CRX&amp;key=Sharefile&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0" target="_blank">ShareFile</a> tools in 2015, had to evacuate its headquarters in San Marcos, Calif., Smith said. The bomb threat was called in on a payday, and North County’s payroll department was worried it <strong>wouldn’t be able to process employees’ paychecks</strong>, Smith said this week at <a href="" target="_blank">the Citrix Synergy 2018 conference</a> in Anaheim, Calif.</p> <p>“It was right at that point when we had transitioned everybody to Citrix,” Smith said. “And it was a great use case. I could say, <strong>‘Listen, your computer is still available, you can access it anywhere.’ </strong>And that’s when it clicked for our staff of why Citrix is beneficial. You can access it anywhere at any time, as long as the servers are active and up to date.”</p> <p>The example, while extreme, illustrates the benefits that healthcare organizations can gain from using Citrix’s tools. One of the most significant is <strong>added flexibility for doctors and staff members</strong>. However, Citrix’s solutions also help them s<strong>ave costs and be more efficient</strong>, which allows them to serve more patients, healthcare executives and IT officials said at the conference.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>HealthTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>North County Stays Productive and Secure with Citrix</h2> <p>North County Health Services, <a href="" target="_blank">founded in 1971</a>, is a nonprofit that has 13 health centers that serve underserved populations in the North County area of San Diego County and Riverside County. <a href="" target="_blank">In 2017</a>, the system provided <strong>314,000 clinical services to 65,000 patients</strong>.</p> <p>Before Smith arrived, North County had used Citrix’s XenDesktop and XenApp services, but inconsistently. “The systems were very old and not taken care of very well, not really given the chance to be taken care,” he said. Right before he joined, the organization made a larger shift to adopt XenDesktop and then expanded to <a href="" target="_blank">XenMobile</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">ShareFile</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">NetScaler software-defined wide area networking tool</a>.</p> <p>Smith runs <strong>an IT team of 14 people</strong>, and North County has a staff of 76 full-time employees and 25 contractors who all use Citrix services.</p> <p>North County clinicians and staff can have both mobility and security via Citrix, Smith said. He can enable ShareFile on XenMobile, so that users can access an email on a mobile device, click on a file attachment, and share and save it to ShareFile, even though Smith’s team can limit what they can access from a security perspective. Users can also access work remotely. <strong>“It’s enabling them,” he said</strong>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, North County has also recently launched a telemedicine program for psychiatry, which may extend to primary care, Smith said. Instead of setting up a laptop with a web camera and microphone, for about the same cost or less, Smith was able to use Citrix tools to modernize the center’s exam rooms by bringing in a <a href="" target="_blank">mobile cart</a> and placing an <a href=";b=APL" target="_blank">iPad</a> on the cart to securely access a video app. This <strong>improved the patient experience and allows staff members to easily access the needed app</strong>, he said.</p> <p>From an IT perspective, Smith said, Citrix’s tools allow staff to manage devices and maintain security without having to have the large staff on hand.</p> <p>“You don’t have to worry about those mobile devices being lost, which is one of the big risks in security right now,” he added. North County’s IT staff does not need to worry about personal health information and files being downloaded locally to smartphones. “With XenMobile, it doesn’t do that,” Smith said.<strong> “So, you have that comfort as an IT staff to know you have that sense of control.”</strong></p> <h2>Health Choice Network Uses Citrix to Gain IT Efficiencies</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Health Choice Network</a> is a lot larger than North County, but also uses Citrix technology to stay productive and efficient. The organization, founded in 1994, is a Health Center Controlled Network and was the first of its kind, according to CEO Alex Romillo, as a nonprofit organization governed by a board comprised of CEOs of its nonprofit, federally qualified health center members. There are now about 50 nationwide.</p> <p>Health Choice Network (HCN) <strong>serves as the CIO for the health centers</strong>, Romillo said. “As they grow, we grow,” he said. “So, we provide an array of services in the hosting field. And we deliver all our hosting applications through our Citrix partnership.”</p> <p>Romillo noted that Health Choice Network has been working with Citrix for nearly 24 years and uses <a href="" target="_blank">Citrix Cloud</a> with managed services, as well as NetScaler and ShareFile, and all of the health centers in the network use Citrix. The organization has an IT staff of about 80 who<strong> work with the health centers on everything from Citrix deployments to electronic health records and Wi-Fi network rollouts</strong>, according to CIO Maylee Sanchez. The organization also dispatches IT members to the centers to troubleshoot issues. HCN has a suite of apps for functions like back office, procurement, accounting, revenue cycle management and managed care that it also provides to the centers in the network, according to Romillo.</p> <p>HCN supports 63 health center organizations and more than 700 physical facilities with <strong>9,000 unique users</strong>, Romillo said, and last year it had <strong>3.1 million visits from 1.7 million unique patients</strong>. About 80 percent of HCN’s patients use Medicaid and 20 percent are uninsured, he added. The organization operates in 23 states today and has a significant presence in nine: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Utah. <strong>HCN uses its scale to get better deals on IT for the health centers.</strong></p> <p>Using Citrix across the board gives HCN a centralized management solution, and the organization is able to version control software deployments and updates. “Our job is to provide the entire desktop to that user so they can treat patients and not worry about, ‘I’m missing an update or a patch or anti-virus,’” he noted.</p> <p>HCN serves as a “pass-through” organization, so if Citrix charges the organization $1 for something, it charges $1 to the health centers. Citrix solutions allow HCN to<strong> limit the amount of hardware and software each center needs</strong>, Romillo said. That helps save money in a nonprofit model where every dollar counts. “Now we can deploy a Raspberry Pi for $100 and provide an entire suite of solutions,” he added.</p> <p>Sanchez noted that adoption is simple, and deployments and updates across the HCN network is standardized and straightforward. “We can manage it much easier as well<strong> because we don’t have to touch every single computer</strong>,” she said. “We have management at an enterprise level that we can pinpoint whatever centers need our help or whatever we need to focus on.”</p> <p>Romillo said the Citrix Cloud means that HCN’s IT systems respond faster and have reduced login times. That improves the clinician workflow and allows doctors to see more patients throughout the day and get time back.</p> <p>Doctors can also use Citrix tools to <strong>go from exam room to exam room and pick up their work where they left off</strong>, and can access work from home or out of a traditional office setting, Sanchez noted. “We have patients who are homeless, so we have to do that outreach,” she said. “it’s important for us to give them the same experience no matter where they are.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Mon, 14 May 2018 16:02:15 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40911 at Summer 2018 <span>Summer 2018</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/09/2018 - 17:09</span> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-vertical" data-layout="vertical" data-url="" data-title="Summer 2018" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <span> <span>May</span> <span>09</span> <span>2018</span> </span> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-googleplus cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's vertical template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-counter="true" data-url="" data-title="Summer 2018" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a href=";" target="_blank"><span class="pw-box-counter cdw-taboola" data-channel="twitter"></span></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-googleplus cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's horizontal template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-url="" data-title="Summer 2018" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="twitter"></span> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="facebook"></span> </div> </div> Wed, 09 May 2018 21:09:02 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40901 at After Disaster Strikes, Technology Planning Is Critical to Helping Hospitals Rebuild <span>After Disaster Strikes, Technology Planning Is Critical to Helping Hospitals Rebuild</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:20</span> <div><p>In 2011, a mile-wide, <strong>EF5-rated tornado devastated Joplin, Mo.</strong>, tearing straight through what was then known as St. John’s Regional Medical Center.</p> <p>The hit to the hospital was catastrophic, causing several deaths and damaging the building to the point that <strong>it was declared a total loss</strong>. The organization couldn’t preserve any of its IT equipment, which had been battered with windblown debris, soaked in water and trapped inside the structurally compromised facility. And yet, <strong>the hospital suffered no data loss as a result of the twister</strong>.</p> <p>“It was a horrible event, but from an IT perspective, the timing was fortuitous in that the hospital had just completed the migration to our data center,” says Scott Richert, vice president for enterprise infrastructure at <a href="" target="_blank">Mercy Technology Services</a>, which provides centralized IT for more than <strong>40 Mercy hospitals across the Midwest</strong>, as well as commercial hospital customers.</p> <p>The hospital, which was <strong>rebuilt and opened in 2015</strong> as <a href="">Mercy Hospital Joplin</a>, had joined the Mercy system only a couple of years before the tornado struck. Mercy had already replaced the hospital’s network and centralized its IT infrastructure before the event. But prior to joining Mercy, the hospital’s IT systems weren’t prepared to weather a major disaster.</p> <p>“Their data assets were all local in the hospital,” Richert says. “They had no use of external services. <strong>Everything was in the basement</strong>. They also didn’t have a full-fledged disaster recovery plan. If this had happened six months before, it would have been a much bigger loss.”</p> <p>In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Richert and other Mercy IT officials scrambled to support makeshift field operations in Joplin. But once the dust settled, the experience underscored the need for meticulous disaster planning and led to lessons that Richert and the organization have put into practice.</p> <p>Natural disasters often <strong>uncover gaps in disaster recovery plans</strong>, helping the affected hospitals — and the entire sector — to fine-tune their processes.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Hosptial Disaster Recovery Requires Twice the Work</h2> <p>Given the emergency response role that healthcare institutions play in the wake of natural disasters, Al Berman, president of the <a href="" target="_blank">Disaster Recovery International Foundation</a> and past president of Disaster Recovery Institute International, says it’s <strong>important for those plans to be as comprehensive as possible</strong>.</p> <p>“<strong>Hospitals suffer probably twice as much</strong> from disasters as everybody else,” Berman says. “They have to deal with their own problems, and they have to deal with everyone else’s.”</p> <p>After the tornado, Mercy officials set up a tent clinic on the edge of the hospital property. The organization borrowed a generator from a carpet cleaning company, then set up a Wi-Fi bridge between the site and another doctors’ office building on Mercy’s wide area network. Six trees blocked the sight line between the two locations, so workers cut them down.</p> <p><img alt="Q0218-HT-Feat-Hennick-quote.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 20.8px;">Photo by Jay Fram.</span></p> <p>“Even though we had a disaster recovery plan on paper, it was probably <strong>75 percent improvisation</strong>,” Richert says. “A chain saw ended up being an integral part of the IT recovery effort.”</p> <p>Of course, more traditional IT assets also played a significant role in the recovery efforts. A Cisco Voice over IP system, with redundancy to call servers in an offsite data center, proved to be critical, as did battery-powered <a href="" target="_blank">Ergotron SV42</a> medical carts equipped with <a href="" target="_blank">Dell</a> small-form-factor PCs with integrated wireless.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">From Makeshift to State-of-the-Art IT</h2> <p>When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston metro area last summer, one hospital in the Harris Health System suffered from extensive water leaks, and another experienced a flooded basement. At one of the hospitals, officials had to move approximately <strong>110 patient beds to other areas</strong>, requiring IT to reconfigure units to accommodate new workloads and provide clinicians with information about the location of patients.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Harris Health System</a> also set up a clinic at the NRG Convention Center, complete with a full electronic health record system, exam rooms, a pharmacy and lab services.</p> <p>“The challenge was dealing with the <strong>sheer volume of unplanned activity</strong>,” says Tim Tindle, executive vice president and CIO. “We relocated departments. We converted conference rooms into temporary offices, and PCs and telephones had to be installed.”</p> <p>Compounding the workload, flooding prevented some staffers from immediately returning to work. One employee was on the job when his wife called, saying that their house was taking on several feet of water. Another employee had to be dispatched to help her and the couple’s child wade to an evacuation point. “It was frightening,” Tindle says.</p> <p>When the time came to rebuild in Joplin, Mercy largely employed the practices it follows at other hospitals, such as laying redundant fiber. The <strong>900,000-square-foot facility</strong> can withstand winds of up to <strong>250 miles per </strong><strong>hour</strong>, and leverages technology including an offsite data center, tablets, telemedicine and smart pumps. Still, Richert says, the experience validated some of what he already considered best practices.</p> <p>“It reinforced our strategy around every data-bearing asset needing to be in the best data center we have,” he says. “When we bought this hospital, telemetry servers ran in network closets. When we build something new, we invest in the network and move all data-bearing assets out of the building.”</p> <p>Mercy Technology Services also now offers other hospitals <strong>cloud-based disaster recovery and backup services</strong> supported by the <a href="" target="_blank">Commvault Data Platform</a>.</p> <p>During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, flooding in the basement of the <a href="" target="_blank">New Orleans VA Medical Center</a> ruined the hospital’s IT infrastructure. The Veterans Health Administration had backed up its data at other locations across the country, and when displaced patients visited other VA facilities, clinicians were able to bring up their medical records within a matter of minutes.</p> <h2 id="toc_2">Hospitals Seek Higher Ground for Rebuilt IT</h2> <p>Still, when the hospital was <strong>rebuilt in 2016</strong>, officials opted to locate IT resources on a higher floor to prevent water damage, one of a number of construction considerations meant to make the building more resilient in the face of natural disasters. The facility’s emergency ramp can also double as a boat dock during high flooding, and patient rooms can accommodate two beds, up from the usual one, if needed. Emergency generators are designed to carry the entire load of the hospital for up to five days.</p> <p>“A lot of the features we have here are a result of Katrina, and improving the design from the beginning,” says Kristen Russell, chief of clinical engineering for the hospital.</p> <p><img alt="Q0218-HT-Feat-Hennick-elpunto.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>In the decade-plus between Katrina and the ribbon-cutting on the new facility, a number of medical processes that previously relied on paper charts were networked, requiring the hospital to create new backup systems. “Right now, we have probably <strong>four dozen servers for 1,200 pieces of networked medical equipment</strong>,” Russell says. “In 2005, that was not the case.” The hospital now backs up its data from medical processes like telemetry to VA centers in Baton Rouge, La., and Little Rock, Ark.</p> <p>Harris Health System was already revamping its data center backup practices when Harvey hit, and Tindle says the storm underscored the need for improvement. He watched nervously as the water level rose to around <strong>3 feet</strong> on the street abutting the primary data center, and estimates that he would have had to initiate failover procedures had the water risen another<strong> 8 to 10 inches</strong>.</p> <p>“We had to calculate the water-rise rate and project when the data center would start to take on water, and then fail it over before that — with <strong>all of our people working remotely</strong>,” he says.</p> <h2 id="toc_3">When it Comes to Disaster Recovery, Plan for Adjustments</h2> <p>The situation could have been worse. The backup data center had only been in place for about a year. “I can’t imagine what my blood pressure would have been” if the secondary site hadn’t been ready, Tindle says. The organization is currently <strong>relocating its primary data center to a colocation facility</strong> and has invested in a tool to speed up<strong> failover time from four hours to just 20 minutes</strong>.</p> <p>Tindle says in the future he’ll deploy staffers to the backup facility during an emergency. He also plans to change the makeup of the “ride-out” team so employees with families can prioritize getting loved ones out of harm’s way.</p> <p>While no disaster recovery plan is perfect, Tindle says such initiatives put resources in place that allow organizations to adjust to challenges on the fly.</p> <p>“The <strong>best-laid plans go out the window</strong> as soon as the specifics of any given disaster actually strike,” he says. “What saves you is, if you have the resources and the people, you have the ability to put a new plan in place and reconfigure your response. If you don’t, you’re going to be in deep trouble.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/calvin-hennick" hreflang="en">Calvin Hennick</a></div> </div> Wed, 09 May 2018 19:20:12 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 40896 at