How mobility can be a game-changer for healthcare
By Mark Micallef March 19, 2014
- According to IDC’s Asia Pacific healthcare predictions, mobility will be a key trend in 2014
- Healthcare organisations can tap cloud computing and mobility to drive greater efficiency
ASIA is on track to becoming the oldest region in the next few decades, with the region’s elderly population projected to reach 922.7 million by 2050, according to the Asian Development Bank.
With countries in the region experiencing aging populations, healthcare services will see a big rise in demand as the elderly dependency ratio increases.
This demographic shift creates unprecedented challenges for healthcare organisations as healthcare plays an important role in supporting economic stability.
According to IDC’s Asia Pacific healthcare predictions for 2014, mobility will be a key trend in the region, with high adoption rates for tablets and smartphones.
Here are three key steps Asean healthcare organisations can take to tap the potential of cloud computing and mobile workspaces to drive greater efficiency in the healthcare sector.
Simplify admin, increase efficiency
The significant surge in demand for healthcare services means that there will be more extensive medical data that needs to be captured.
The traditional method of organising paperwork, using standalone PCs and external hard drives, could complicate the administrative process in locating information, such as medical records to databases, making it time-consuming.
Altogether, these factors impede effective administration and management of clinical and medical information.
Healthcare organisations that adopt a cloud computing platform in their IT infrastructure will be able to reduce or even eliminate unnecessary paperwork and data transfers among workstations.
Streamlining administrative processes, such as paperwork and requests for information, is essential in enhancing operational efficiency, particularly in times of high demand.
For instance, on the first visit, a patient’s registration details need to be stored only once and will be easily retrieved for future visits.
Being able to access and manage this business-critical information in real-time allows healthcare staff to minimise administrative errors as well as reduce the time required to find the right information.
Such effective IT support will shorten the patient’s registration time, thus enhancing administrative productivity and patient experience.
Stay agile in case of emergency
Healthcare organisations can also benefit from a virtualised environment. A virtualised application and desktop delivery infrastructure enables mobility and greater productivity among healthcare professionals, resulting in overall improved patient care.
Virtualised apps and desktops allow for example, nurses and doctors to retrieve vital and up-to-date data directly from their home PCs, laptops or tablets anytime it is needed, while ensuring security of the data referenced.
Hence, they are equipped with the flexibility to work away from their conventional stationary workspaces, gaining complete, seamless and secure access on any device to all apps and data required for them to fulfil their duties wherever, whenever.
For example, doctors can complete paperwork on their office PCs and conduct rounds with their tablets to retrieve key Electronic Medical Records (EMR), such as X-rays, real-time for more up-to-the-minute, comprehensive diagnosis or monitoring of patients.
Doctors making home visits would be able to respond to patients’ needs remotely with EMR readily available from their mobile devices. Nurses can also log in to any mobile workstation and be easily updated with patients’ medical allergies when delivering medication to patients.
Guard patient privacy
In today’s era of smart devices, the possibility of unauthorised retrieval of patient data through EMR is a major concern. This questions whether the security of patient data can be ensured.
Healthcare organisations are being held responsible for the protection of patients’ personal and sensitive health information.
Desktop virtualisation can help healthcare organisations to achieve patient data security by storing all sensitive and critical health data on the healthcare institution’s data centers and isolating the data from any healthcare worker’s endpoint device.
This means that while app and desktop virtualisation enables healthcare workers to retrieve data on their mobile devices, the data itself does not actually leave the data centre and therefore, does not reside in the endpoint device.
This guarantees that the data remains secure and intact, regardless of whatever happens to the actual device, for instance, if it was stolen, misplaced or damaged.
Simplifying healthcare administration, enabling mobility among healthcare workers and guarding patient data are cornerstones of effective healthcare IT today. The end result – both patient care and organisational performance are improved.
Ultimately, for Asean countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia, which are seeing rising elderly dependency ratios, delivering world-class healthcare services effectively and efficiently is key to developing a sustainable care continuum for patients.
Citrix is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles, empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, securely accessing apps and data on any of the latest devices, as easily as they would in their own office. Mark Micallef is area vice president of Citrix Asean.
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