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iPad/iPhone Restraint and Sedation in the Emergency Room for Kids

Posted on August 23, 2012 I Written By

Going to the emergency room is terrible.  It is almost always at an inconvenient time, the wait is always terrible, and oh yeah, you or someone you love is seriously hurt.  When that someone is your own child it is even harder to try and calm them down so that the doctors and nurses can give them the help they need.

In the past doctors were forced to use restraints or even sedatives to be able to perform their work.  But, some doctors have found something even better, and far less dangerous for the child: smartphones and tablets.

Distracting children with a smartphone or tablet is not new to anyone with kids.  Rare is the outing that doesn’t involve my daughter using my phone to entertain herself, and in turn make for a more pleasant evening for every at the venue.  But to think that these same devices would be equally as effective as restraints and drugs just blows me away.

Fierce Mobile Healthcare has a few links to the actual case study as well as blog posts from The University of Chicago, who conducted the study, and Dr. Ryan Radecki, who has found this to be a reality in his emergency room.

Having made multiple trips to the emergency room with my kids I know how hard it is to entertain them throughout the whole process.  It is awesome to know that something as simple as a video or app can be even more effective than harmful drugs.

Does Changing EMRs Make Security Vulnerabilities Worse?

Posted on I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

I don’t have good statistics on hand, but changing EMRs isn’t unusual, and changing them a few times isn’t as rare as it should be.  Readers here know that this is a painful proposition for many reasons, including cost and the need to re-tool workflow over at minimum several months.

But I’ve noticed that few if any IT pundits talk about the security risks that must come from making such a shift. A few common sense issues come to mind:

*  Retraining staff:  Your overall security policy might not change, but the security workings of the new software may be somewhat different.  As staff reacclimates, there’s plenty of room for mistakes.

* Transferring patient information:  Whether you’re currently a Web-based EMR or one installed on site, you’ll have to transfer a lot of information to the new system.  What happens if the isn’t encrypted and locked down during or after the transfer?

*  Back door vulnerabilities:  If your existing installed software has any back-door vulnerabilities in it, they may remain or even become even more deeply buried when the new software is put in place.

* Re-establishing device security:  Whatever you’ve done to secure mobile devices may have been sufficient for your last system, but what about your new one?   Even cloud systems with strong back-end data protections aren’t going to make sure smartphones and iPads and laptops are secure against security breaches, and you may need to re-do protections for them.

In proposing these ideas, I’ve mostly envisioned what small- to medium-sized medical practices face. If the EMR change is from Cerner to Epic rather than a small-practice system to another, the problem is vastly more complicated.  Either way though, it isn’t a pretty picture.

So readers, if you were responsible for such a shift, what would your next steps be?  Do you have a transition security checklist you can share?