Providers, ambulatory practices, and acute care settings are sold on the idea that they will receive an electronic system that manages their patient’s health information. When people compare paper versus electronic, electronic is almost synonymous with automation. There is one problem with this that is often very difficult to overcome. Vendors compete to sell their own specialized products for lab systems, radiology, diagnostic software, etc. Clinicians end up having to learn how to use multiple information systems to manage a patient’s healthcare. Remembering different passwords, using different computers around the office, and the time it takes to search for records in these different systems can often lead to inefficient healthcare delivery.
One article caught my eye on a solution to these issues; where mobility of a provider meets quick access to any system and workstation or computer that they travel around to without having to carry around a laptop or wait for a nurse to log out so they can log in. This technology is referred to as a “Follow-Me Desktop” for providers who “roam” the office, going from patient to patient, floor to floor. This is done through virtualized desktops, single-sign on technologies, and biometrics. When a provider roams from one computer to the next, the system using this technology knows where the provider left off from and what location they’re in now. Specific patient lists, settings, applications that load, and so on automatically allow the provider to spend less time logging into systems and searching for their patient, decreasing the frustration levels of clinicians expected to see as many patients as possible, quickly, all while providing excellent patient care.
Technologies such as these that combine different support mechanisms to aid clinicians in using a myriad of different systems allows for increased provider buy-in, productivity gains, and an increase in the quality of care patients receive. The virtual desktops allow providers to access systems easier, “Follow-Me” technology providers instant access to clinical systems after verifying credentials, and a centralized server that hosts these applications allows for easier IT management of computers spread across a geographical area. In my professional experience dealing with 60 providers in a multi-specialty ambulatory practice environment, it seems technology like this would promote physician adoption of systems and make it easier to provide a higher level of care for patients.
VMWare (2011). Enabling Fast and Secure Clinician Workflows with One-Touch Desktop Roaming. Palo Alto, CA. Accessed Online: http://www.healthcare-. informatics.com/Media/DocumentLibrary/VMware-Imprivata-Workflows.pdf