Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Update on the Mobile Device Strategy Project

As promised in my recent about about our mobile device strategy project, here is the finished report from the 30 days of analysis completed by our intern, Ankur Seth.

A few take home lessons:

It's clear that leading practice is to use 2D Bar codes to identify patients, medications, and labs. 3D Bar codes are not widely deployed in outpatient or inpatient areas in the US.

Devices are evolving rapidly and anything you buy today will be obsolete quickly. It's best to avoid device or vendor lock-in if possible, using standards-based or modular components that enable rapid replacement of the infrastructure.

There are many different use cases and requirements in different workflows - Emergency Department, ICU, Ward and Clinic.

There is not a one size fits all solution.

The recommendations in brief are:

Attempt to stay device neutral through the use of web-based or other thin client technologies. For example, Apple has committed to train our developers to create iPod/iPad applications that are just front ends for our underlying web-based applications. We could do the same for the recently announced Dell Streak, Google Nexus One , HP, and RIM mobile devices.

Put bar code reading equipment in each Emergency Department bay and ICU room, since these areas are limited in number and generate a large volume of lab samples.

Make bar code printers available at the bedside in the ED and ICUs, since any workflow which uses centralized printing or batch printing of labels at registration can cause mislabeling errors.

For the ward locations, make mobile printers available on carts so that labels can be printed at the bedside without buying and supporting 500+ printers.

Application and infrastructure �fit� into the user work flow is important and is the major factor affecting the adoption of mobile devices in clinical settings.

Our next step to followup on this study is to test various devices and printers, evaluating usability, supportability, and cost in various clinical locations.

I hope you find this report useful. Comments are welcome.

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