How to Cure IT Woes that Dominate Docs’ Time: Decrease Time to Patient Data

Time to productivity is defined by the time it takes from walking up to a computer to viewing and/or editing a patient chart.

By Dan Dillman, CEO A2U 


Robotic surgery. Artificial intelligence. Telemedicine. The electronic health record (EHR).

The face of healthcare has changed and technology is considered to be the driving force behind the evolution.

Thanks to IT, patient care is safer and more reliable. Today, nurses and doctors routinely use hand-held computers to record important real-time patient data and then upload it instantly to the patient’s updated medical history. At the click of a button, healthcare professionals can access critical patient data in one centralized area.

In many ways, putting away the pen and paper and taking up the keyboard has made things faster, safer and simpler.

However, there are some doctors who see a disturbing side effect. Instead of increasing efficiency, new technologies are actually slowing doctors’ productivity.

How so?

If the right technology isn’t in place, it can clog up a well-oiled machine. And, this means it comes at the cost of delivering the best patient care.

 To put this in perspective:

Today, CTOs wrestle with uptime, a critical component to physician productivity and efficiency. The challenge for hospital C-suites is to make sure that data is secure at all times without compromising clinicians’ time to productivity or ease of use.

Technology should help, not hinder workflow. It should optimize doctors’ ability to provide care – not complicate it, and this means making sure hospitals are running as efficiently as possible.

For example, clinicians at WellSpan, a healthcare system made up of more than 130 patient care locations, including six hospitals, spent about 30 seconds to one minute “waiting” to login. This is just logging in; they still needed to open apps and take additional steps to access the patient data. The goal was to decrease that time to less than seven seconds. A2U was able to reduce the entire time to productivity, meaning the time it took to access patient data, at WellSpan to less than five seconds.

In some situations, clinicians experience far more than a minute before they can access patient data.

Imagine that you’re a doctor. You see each patient for 11 minutes, on average. If you spend a minute (or longer) waiting to login, that’s 10 percent of your time – just trying to access patient data.

Another challenge is, many hospitals see an inconsistent range of time to productivity based on different locations and at different points during the day. Every clinician – no matter the location or time of day – should only experience a wait time of five seconds or less to access patient data. This time should be consistent across the board.

Here’s how to ensure uptime and consistency:

Keep the end point design simple and manageable. One way to do that is through single image management: having one end point image that all end points utilize (i.e., the one, same image each time it is loaded). Non-Windows-based thin clients (such as IGEL technology) that run a centralized, virtualized desktop is one piece of the technology healthcare systems should have in place. Imprivata is another technology solution we use to ensure that healthcare systems improve the patient experience.

Many agree that it’s important that the focus be redirected from the computer screen back to patients. To make that happen, healthcare systems need to partner with an IT solutions provider that is skilled at effectively addressing the modern-day, hospital challenges.

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