IT leaders’ insights.
Houston Methodist Hospital IT Leaders Armand Stansel, IT Director and George Stefanick, Wireless Architect, detail their strategy and healthcare projects.
1. On why nurses should be using their smartphones to work
"If you think today how the nurse works she makes rounds from room to room. Sometimes she has to come back to the nurse’s station. One of our biggest complaints is there aren’t enough computers. So how do we solve that? We either put a computer in the room or put a computer on the cart. We’re starting to look at tablets and smartphones are used by nurses as a communication device that they carry in their pocket. We use them at home, you have an iPhone or an Android device at home, so why not give them to the nurse?"
2. On why free wi-fi access is important to patients
"Guest access started out several years ago. We originally thought we’d provide a guest service, like most hotels, as a paid service. We tossed that around a bit, but we decided it was expected. You go to a hotel and you expect to have wi-fi. So we gave that to our patients. We had a young lady staying at the hospital for a long period and I realised that it was no longer a guest network – it was her way out to the world, to Facebook, social media, keeping contact and email."
3. On what’s driving mobility in the American healthcare system
"There are a lot of factors driving mobility. There are some government initiatives driving the electronic digitisation of healthcare. But every facility, how they address that is different. When you come to the actual device, that is based on the desire of that facility to do so. The nursing staff shared with us that a phone call is no longer good enough, that physicians prefer texting. If a nurse can text a physician securely and get a response much faster than a phone call, that’s much better for our patients."
4. On how mobility is already impacting healthcare
"The next time you’re in a hospital or a medical office, take a look around. You’d be very surprised to see how mobility is impacting patient care. Everything from getting a work order on a device, whether a mobile or tablet, perhaps getting results to a phone or nurse call alerts. Mobility today in healthcare is where it’s going. It’s where it’s been for a while but it’s going there at a much faster rate. When you start to look at how busy the hospital is, having that information driven to devices is very important."
5. On why wi-fi is preferable to wired
Stefanick: "I think flexibility is the key. You have to look at cost but also flexibility in this space. We realised that we don’t want to put anything in that we’re going to be ripping out in three years."
Stansel: "When you start to put numbers around this, you have to think about the ports you’re saving, the power you’re saving, the room you’re saying. The expense of cable – especially if it’s going to be a temporary rotation, you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars to pull it."