What Entails a Healthcare Mobile Strategy? Part 2 – Enterprise Applications

In What Entails a Healthcare Mobile Strategy? Part 1 – Patient Applications, the focus was on the patient mobile experience.  In this post, the review will cover the enterprise side of a mobile strategy for healthcare systems.  

Clinical Focus

One of the big ticket items that should be a priority for healthcare systems is to provide mobile access to the enterprise Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.  Enabling this access to clinicians can be accomplished by implementing a mobile app version of the EMR or through a Citrix solution to the native application.

Mobile EMR Application

Most of the major EMR vendors (listed below) have a mobile solution for the iPad/iPhone.  The challenge facing clinicians with these application is that some of them don’t provide full functionality and can’t replace the native client which can impact clinical workflow.  Also, some of the applications require either specific hardware infrastructure or have additional costs to be implemented.  

Major EMR Vendors Providing Mobile Solutions

 Back Office Focus

In addition to having clinical applications available, healthcare systems, depending on their size, may want to provide access to financial and staff management systems via mobile devices.  Access to these type of systems allow management staff to approve invoices, time cards, look at staff levels, etc. while being away from their desk.  Similar to the clinical applications some of these solutions require additional software and infrastructure to be procured before implementing.  A few examples of these systems are:

Accessing Clinical & Back Office from Any Device

For anyone that has worked in healthcare IT has come to the realization that in a lot of instances the primary applications utilized by clinical and support staff are a good 5-10 years behind other industries with like applications.  The impact this has on IT shops is providing access to these applications from mobile applications.  Also, as mentioned earlier, the mobile clinical applications in some cases don’t provide the necessary functionality to the clinicians for their required workflow.

Citrix Published Applications and Virtual Desktops

One way to provide access to healthcare enterprise applications via mobile devices is through the use of Citrix solutions XenApp (virtualized applications) and XenDesktop (virtualized desktop).  For each of these solutions, access is provided to traditional healthcare enterprise applications that the staff are familiar with and have full functionality.  The one downside to these solutions is that since the applications are not setup for touch makes for tough navigation and in some cases makes documentation difficult.

Determining Your Need

To determine which way to provide applications to the healthcare system staff is to determine their use cases and the type of devices.  In Part 3, the review will cover on what types of devices should be allowed to access in the healthcare setting.