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August 22, 2016

Mobile approach to facilitate EHR acces improves use and sharing of data

The difference between what can make healthcare better and the reality can sometimes seem small. But the difference between using or not using, sharing or not sharing medical data, can make a huge impact on the outcome of a patients treatment!

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For instance: more and more hospitals have the digital infrastructure and systems in place to make it possible for users to share and access electronic patient data. But, as figures from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) show, the clinicians don’t use it and the reason is simple.  The infrastructure and systems fors haring of data may be in place, but often it isn’t integrated into the workflow. According to the ONC survey, 53% of hospitals say that accessing data from external sources is not integrated into the workflow of their electronic health record (EHR).

Missing link

The missing link in the data sharing equation is the clinician. If they cannot easily access and share patient data within the structure of their workflow, they will not use it to coordinate and improve care. Now, in order to bridge the gap between clinician workflow and patient data access, providers such as Nebraska Medical, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General, Intermountain Healthcare and the Department of Veterans Affairs, are turning to mobile devices.

For example, at  Nebraska Medical, on-call radiologists can now view patient images from iPhones, iPads or laptops using a mobile enterprise image viewer to diagnose from any location. Now they  can log in and view images from a mobile app that is accredited for diagnostic use. Before they had to use a web browser on an off-site desktop system, which can be unreliable. Another bonus is that mobile access takes away the pain of the after-hours consult, because it can be used from any location.

Then the Mayo Clinic: it recently adopted a mobile strategy to make images easily accessible to practitioners and external referring physicians across the enterprise. Now Mayo’s providers in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, as well as providers outside of the Mayo network, have simple, real-time access to patient images to collaborate and coordinate patient care.

The solution: using a commercial mobile enterprise viewer, ResolutionMD, which was faster and more effective than both Mayo’s ‘home grown’ viewer and a PACS viewer. Tight integration of the commercial mobile solution with Mayo’s EHR now allows the provider’s clinicians to access patient images of any type from any source without leaving their EHR environment.

In short: adopting a mobile strategy -integration data access into their workflow – can help give clinicians easy access to EHR data from any location. Using single, standard applications, can facilitate a wider use and sharing of data, taking away yet another hurdle. This recent shift to a single image viewer reflects an overall shift in health IT strategies to viewers that support enterprise imaging. 

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