Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Mobile Health Moving The Network Edge Out Permanently

Posted on June 1, 2012 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.

Managing devices at the edges of the network is not a new problem.  In fact, looked at one way, we’re still dealing with the same problems of sharing computing intelligence that the first gen of client-server developers did.

But in a world where mobile devices are expected to do such critical work, I believe we’re at a unique juncture. HIT leaders are going to have to figure out how to completely transform balance between smart/dumb clients and their relationship to applications.  In other words, they’re going to have to manage from the edge in as well as from the core outward from now on. Too strong a statement?  Hear me out and see what you think.

Since the 1960s, we’ve gone back and forth between expecting edge devices to be dumb conduits for computing results (the green screen) and super-smart computing devices which needed the network only to connect users to each other.

Now, here in health IT land, we’re trying to find a balance that generations of brilliant developers and engineers have struggled to achieve.  With the advent of relatively cheap, flexible WiFi networks and widespread use of 3G/4G devices on the road, we’ve got the network infrastructure nailed for the time being.

But what do we do with the pesky limitations of those oh-so-popular iPads, Android tablets and smartphones?  Short-term, the answer for many IT organizations is making EMRs accessible only via devices that can run a remote desktop.  This compromise works for some users and is detested by others.  This may be a decent technical solution, but it may not be a usable one.

According to one reader, the way to create this balance is to create a better virtual desktop:

Were I a present-day EHR vendor, I’d start designing interfaces that work well when accessed via touch-screen devices that are using remote-desktop software, in preparation for a future when it is standard practice for all clinical staff to carry around iPad-like devices.

I think he’s dead-on. These devices aren’t an add-on anymore, they’re a permanent part of the clinical workflow where a lot of important, nay, life and death work will get done.  Readers, are you aware of anyone who has created an iPad virtual desktop interface which feels workable to the clinicians you know?

Dell Dives into mHealth with Mobile Clinical Computing Solution

Posted on April 15, 2011 I Written By

From hardware to hospitals, tech juggernaut Dell is diving into the mobile health space with a new venture few had anticipated.

Dell is launching a Mobile Clinical Computing (MCC) solution for hospitals and health care organizations that use the Meditech Health Care Information System.

The solution, says Dell, will enable “a simplification and automation of IT operations.”

By delivering this technology solution for Meditech users – and its network of better than 2,300 hospitals, ambulatory care centers, physicians’ offices, and countless medical facilities – the MCC program represents Dell’s latest attempt, as Information Week reports, to explore new ways to offer technology to the healthcare sector.

Mobile Clinical Computing (MCC) for Meditech is based on a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that is designed for fast, flexible deployment of virtual desktops in hospitals and their extended communities. The design includes VMware vSphere(TM) and VMware View(TM) as well as servers, optimized storage, networking, and security in a reference architecture that can be tailored to meet customer needs.

“One of the top pain points for virtually every healthcare CIO involves managing clinical and administrative desktops,” says Peter Stone, vice president and general manager of the Meditech Solutions Group within Dell Services.

“PC client issues strain otherwise carefully-deployed healthcare enterprise applications and can hinder adoption of advanced clinical software,” Stone says. “Deploying secure virtual desktops can resolve many of these challenges by utilizing VMware View(TM) to create a desktop and application design that simplifies and automates IT operations, while also reducing the risk of security breaches that plague local storage.”

Anytime Dell decides to take a venture into a new arena it is important to pay attention.  They possess the size and power to create instant influence in any industry.  It will be interesting to see if they can be equally successful in this new opportunity.