Minutes saved can add up to big ROI
January 22, 2014 in Medical Technology
Healthcare providers often have difficulty defining the ROI of an mHealth application. Is it saving lives or money, or both?
How about minutes? In the case of a Washington-based network of pediatricians who are now using a mobile app to connect with their EHR, those few minutes saved in each encounter can add up over time, and mean a whole lot more than money saved. Just ask the parents of a sick or newborn child what a few minutes mean to them.
Pediatric Associates, a seven-clinic health network based in Bellevue, Wash., recently began using the Greenway PrimeMOBILE app for Windows 8, enabling the network’s 85 pediatricians to quickly access their PrimeSUITE EHR while seeing patients in one of the clinics or making rounds at the nearby children’s hospital. In addition, the network’s medical assistants are using the app on Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablets to quickly document vital signs.
To Brock Morris, the network’s CIO, the benefits are numerous. Physicians making their rounds at the hospital can now access information and take notes at the bedside, rather than rushing around the hospital trying to find an open computer station, then asking for log-in information. In the case of newborns, they can get an EHR started on the spot, rather than later.
[See also: Mobile app manages diabetes.]
“It’s a minute saved here and there,” said Morris. “Maybe 10 minutes with sick patients, 20 minutes with well-check appointments, adding up to 30 minutes a day. There’s very real potential there. You can turn that time into better patient engagement.”
Not only that, he said, but an increasingly tech-savvy population expects that its physicians are keeping up with the trends.
“If we’re not using technology, then they don’t see us as a quality organization,” he added.
“In a couple of years, tablets will be the norm in healthcare,” said Johnathan Samples, Greenway’s executive vice president of innovation. “You need a native mobile solution for that, not one that interrupts a physician’s workflow and creates any obstacles, because then they won’t use it.”
That’s the dilemma facing many an EMR vendor looking to go mobile – finding a means of fitting into the doctor’s routine without any fuss or drama. And it’s especially pertinent to pediatricians, who are dealing with harried parents and small patients who really don’t care how long it takes to access medical records.
“The goal of any app is to really give providers access to the full functionality of an EMR anytime, anywhere,” said Staples. Ideally, that occurs in the exam room, he said, but it could also mean the office, the home, the clinic, the OR, the ER, even the Little League game or concert.
[See also: FDA releases final rules on mobile apps.]