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Mobile Apps for HIS

It is hard to imagine life today without Smartphones and Tablet PCs. However, in German hospitals they are still few and far between, despite the huge time savings they could provide there. More and more doctors want to know why the technology that they use as a matter of course at home isn’t available at the workplace as well. Tieto has taken this on board and, working together with the Miners’ Association in the Knappschafts-Krankenhaus Bottrop, has developed an App to provide mobile access to HIS (Hospital Information System) functionality. The results have impressed not only the users, but also hospital management.
The hospital Knappschafts-Krankenhaus Bottrop was already familiar with mobile input devices before the introduction of the new mobile documentation App. Ward trolleys, for example, are equipped with laptops that are controlled via a WLAN. However, the time came when limited mobility of this type was no longer adequate, especially for the doctors: “The doctors wanted us to provide them with an access facility they could carry around with them at all times. This would allow them to perform a range of minor tasks there and then, saving a lot of time on the whole”, explains Christian Bauer, IT Manager of the Miners’ Association. The possibility of offering these time-saving facilities to the doctors, who were already heavily involved in the increasingly process-driven day-to-day operations of the hospital, provided the main motivation for the Miners’ Association to consider an extensive data mobilisation programme.
Saving time in the hectic daily round
With Tieto, the Miners’ Association found an IT partner who was keen to collaborate in the development of a new App for mobile HIS access. The result is a solution that allows valuable time to be saved, particularly for those doctors with a heavy clinical workload. The amount of time saved depends on the individual user’s behaviour. If doctors do not have to visit the ward for every results validation and are able to check laboratory results there and then, this soon mounts up to a significant time saving.
As well as user behaviour, the extent of the electronic HIS documentation and the scope of the result made available are important factors in determining the amount of time that can be saved. The prevailing conditions in the Knappschafts-Krankenhaus Bottrop were favourable in that a solution was already in place in the form of the Tieto HIS iMedOne®, which provides an extensive electronic documentation facility. In future, even the vital parameters of individual patients will be digitally recorded in the new App environment.
In a development phase lasting few months, Tieto’s IT experts, working closely with the customer, defined the functions for which mobile access was to be provided. A particularly important feature was a navigation facility geared towards the workflows on the wards. On the basis of this preliminary work, Tieto employees programmed an App for the Mobile Integrated Platform for iMedOne® that will be available in future via Apple’s App Store. “As this was a complete new development, it provided us with a great opportunity. We felt that Tieto was genuinely interested in this area. Many of our ideas were implemented with outstanding results”, explains Bauer.
Fast access, user-friendly navigation
In specific terms, Mobile Integrated Platform for iMedOne® offers access to virtually all medical results documents that are available in HIS, including PDF documents, Word documents, image data and laboratory data. “Our doctors are particularly satisfied with laboratory data access”, reports Bauer. As well as the medical results documents, the App offers access to a range of vital data available in electronic form in the HIS, including blood pressure and pulse data. The iMedOne process documentation Journal is also available, with which doctors can record brief notes on their patients. They can also retrieve an overview of all of a patient’s treatments and can approve individual instructions on the move.
A particular feature of the mobile App is the extensive information grouping and filtering facility. For example, the doctor can specify that only pathological laboratory results are displayed. Or he can select the patients he would like to have displayed in particular situations. Context-related list navigation simplifies movement between data. The laboratory results menu, for example, makes it possible to move on directly to the next patient, without first having to return to a higher navigation level.
The rollout is already in preparation
“On the whole, we are so impressed with this solution that we would like to offer it in future in other Miners’ Association hospitals also”, explains Bauer. Work is currently still being carried out on a structured administration of the terminal equipment in order to retain control as the number of devices increases and, for example, to be able to upload updates everywhere without much outlay. There are plans to issue personalised devices. Every user will then be responsible for his own device and will normally take it home with him at the end of the day. Users will also be able to program “their” devices with their own personal filter and grouping settings. These filter settings are the only data to be stored directly on the device.
Push for WLAN networking
One of the consequences of the new solution is that serious consideration is now being given in Bottrop to an extension of the existing WLAN network. “The new mobile devices now give us a clear indication of the places where general WLAN access would be desirable”, says Bauer. In a modern hospital, a WLAN network is indispensable to the IT manager. Today, wireless networks can be implemented cost-effectively in virtually every hospital architecture. And in terms of their security, professionally installed WLAN solutions are no different from fixed networks.
Bauer is convinced that the cost of mobile hospital documentation is, on the whole, a price worth paying. He can easily imagine equipping all relevant users in the hospital with the terminal devices they need. Users in Bottrop can get by with an iPodTouch®, as long as they remain within the WLAN. The IT manager believes that a wider rollout could also be funded. The iPhone® could of course also be used, and an optimised App is also available for the iPad®.