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Report: Most Healthcare Orgs Now Have Documented Mobile Strategies

April 3, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Compared to 2012, twice as many healthcare professional respondents said they have a documented mobile strategy within their organization.

The Springfield, Va.-based healthcare communications company Spok, Inc. has released the first of two reports on the results of the annual mobility strategies in healthcare survey. This research, conducted by Spok since 2011, is designed to assess mobile workflow enablement progress and trends in hospitals across the country. More than 300 healthcare professionals throughout the U.S. responded to this year’s questions about mobile strategy development, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, communications infrastructure, and opportunities to improve mobile communications.

Indeed, the survey revealed that 65 percent of respondents said they have a documented mobile strategy, double the amount from what the 2012 report found. For those that do have a documented mobile strategy in place, 40 percent have had a strategy for one to three years, and a combined 39 percent report their strategy has been in place for more than three years.

As for the reasons respondents selected for updating a mobile strategy, the primary drivers relate to what end users need, and changes in the underlying technology— shifting needs of end users (44 percent) and new mobile devices available on the market (35 percent). This was followed by citing new capabilities from their electronic health record (EHR) vendor (26 percent) and making adjustments because of changes in overall strategy goals (23 percent).

“The Evolution of Mobile Strategies in Healthcare” report (part one from Spok) focuses solely on the larger topics of mobile strategy development and maintenance. “Based on participant responses in this first installment of our findings, we see that mobile strategies are becoming more established in healthcare, and that most hospitals are making revisions as needed to keep these plans relevant and up-to-date. Ninety-three percent of hospitals with mobile strategies in place more than a year have updated their mobile plans,” said Hemant Goel, president of Spok.

Regarding security, however, while 25 percent of respondents said mobile policies are enforced by a security team monitoring the hospital or system, the same amount said there is no method for enforcing mobile policies.

The study findings also revealed that there is an opportunity for planning teams to include more strategic hospital initiatives within mobile plans. Survey participants were presented with a list of objectives, from improving nurse-to-physician communications to speeding emergency department (ED) bed turnover. They were asked if each objective was an identified hospital goal, and whether or not it was also a part of their mobility strategy. Respondents cited inclusion of hospital goals in their formal mobile plan less than 20 percent of the time. This may indicate an opportunity for hospitals to elevate mobile planning as a strategic initiative that advances broader hospital objectives, according to the researchers.

What’s more, participation in mobile strategy planning is dominated by the IT department, according to the research. These are the people usually tasked with taking strategies and turning them into a tangible, technological reality. However, mobile strategies were considered a technology initiative by only 25 percent of survey respondents. Twenty-four percent cited it as a clinical initiative and the majority, 47 percent, said that their mobile strategy is considered a communications initiative.

The second installment of this research, “The State of Mobile Communications in Healthcare: Devices, Infrastructure, and Access,” will be released in May.


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LabCorp Joins Apple Health Records Project

November 5, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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LabCorp, a provider of clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services, has announced that it has enabled Apple’s Health Records feature for its patients.

This iPhone feature aims to make it easier for LabCorp patients to access their LabCorp laboratory test results, along with other available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose, according to officials.

In January, Apple announced that it would be testing the Health Records feature out with 12 hospitals, inclusive of some of the most prominent healthcare institutions in the U.S. Since that time, more than 100 new organizations have joined the project,  according to Apple.

LabCorp test results are viewable in the Apple Health app for LabCorp patients who have an account with the company, and enable integration with the Health Records app. In addition to their LabCorp test results, patients will have information from participating healthcare institutions organized into one view, covering allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated, and the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, according to officials.

“LabCorp on Health Records will help provide healthcare consumers with a more holistic view of their health. Laboratory test results are central to medical decision making, and broadening access to this information will help patients take charge of their health and wellness, and lead to more informed dialogues between patients and their healthcare providers,” David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, said in a statement.

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HIMSS Analytics Introduces Infrastructure Adoption Model for Health Systems

October 25, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Adoption Model, or INFRAM, which is designed to measure the technical infrastructure used within a health system.

The INFRAM focuses on five technical subdomains, allowing organizations to benchmark how their infrastructure operates within the following areas: mobility; security; collaboration; transport; and data center.

Similar to HIMSS Analytics’ well-known Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, or, EMRAM, the INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities required to reach their facility’s clinical and operational goals, while meeting industry benchmarks and standards.  The final stage, Stage 7, guides organizations towards optimized information integration, contextualization and orchestration essential for the delivery of higher order local and virtualized care processes.

For reference purposes, Stage 0 on the model represents that an organization does not have a VPN, intrusion detection/prevention, security policy, data center or compute architecture. Stage 3 signifies that an organization has an advanced intrusion prevention system, while Stage 5 represents having video on mobile devices, location-based messaging, firewall with advanced malware protection, and real-time scanning of email hyperlinks.

HIMSS officials note that by identifying specific benchmarks for organizations to reach before they go live with EMR, systems, the INFRAM aims to ensure that a health system’s infrastructure is stable, manageable and extensible. Through this, organizations can ideally improve care delivery and create a pathway for infrastructure development tied to business and clinical outcomes.

 “The INFRAM is a welcome addition to our maturity model suite and addresses a longstanding need – guiding healthcare organizations in securely implementing the infrastructure with which their EMRs are built upon,” Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “We have seen health systems engage with advanced clinical applications, only for them to ‘glitch’ under infrastructure that isn't powerful enough to support their tools. With the INFRAM, healthcare providers can develop a detailed, strategic technology plan that defines their organization's current state, desired future state, and each stage in between to achieve their clinical and operational goals.”

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Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CT

Eisenhower Health, a west coast-based Magnet Hospital, implemented an enterprise-wide solution enabling mobile communications and collaboration across all care teams, linking the entire enterprise, advancing its communications capabilities, creating access to an enterprise directory, and improving care team response and turnaround times.

Additionally, the system provided extensive and comprehensive reporting with data analytics showing where and to what extent response improvements were made, but also providing the information the hospital needed to better utilize the system and make adjustments to improve results.

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