Monday, February 13, 2012

Health IT and Cloud Based Mobility Solutions

Stephen Chilton
Last week I wrote that I believe enterprise mobility will transform Healthcare more than just about any industry outside of media.  Healthcare requires access to a lot of data, the collection of a lot of data and collaboration with many others in mobile environments.  This traditional paper intensive industry is already rapidly digitizing, and now in the process of mobilizing.  However, some of the biggest challenges are figuring out how to mobilize large numbers of back-end systems and processes cost effectively.

Stephen Chilton, Director of IT for the University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) in the UK faced these challenges.   I recorded a podcast with him last year that you can listen to here.  He researched how he could use cost effective mobile solutions to assist doctors, nurses, clinical staff and executives in their every day routine jobs that did not necessarily justify huge investments, but could really benefit from mobility.

Chilton had already learned, through several previous trials, that traditional mobile platforms and mobile IDEs (integrated development environments) were both expensive and required relatively long development and deployment cycles.  That model would just never work for his environment.  He turned to a cloud based mobility vendor that offered a per user, annual subscription price, for an unlimited number of mobile applications.

The "unlimited" feature is a key point.  Once a user is subscribed,  they can use as many apps as they need for the same price.   This permits more apps to be deployed, and more customized niche solutions for small groups to be mobilized because there is no additional costs.

The unlimited number of mobile applications per user enabled Chilton to experiment and develop (often in only a few hours) very usable and cost effective mobile applications that he was able to rapidly deploy to various groups of healthcare providers.  His first few applications provided the following benefits:
  • One allows pharmacists to fulfill prescription requests by tapping their smartphones to research the 86,000 available drugs, and provide advice about suitability, availability and, if necessary, substitutions. 
  • A Neurological On-Call Referral System that lets doctors obtain real-time assistance from specialists on their mobile phones, providing details of the case, updating the records with notes and advice provided by the consultant, and saving the data in the patient’s permanent medical history.
  • A compliance monitoring application that delivers key performance indicators to administrators, smartphones, so they can monitor compliance and take corrective action, if required, on the spot.
Chilton told me in an interview that many of these applications were done in just a couple of days each using the cloud based mobile solution from Webalo.  They configured mobile solutions and back-end integrations through a simple cloud based configuration interface.  When you design, develop and deploy mobile applications in hours, it enables you to trial many different applications and prove the ROIs before major role outs are approved.

It is important to recognize there are options to long and expensive on-premise development projects for some mobile applications.  If you are interested to hear more about these options you can watch the video and/or join the webinar on February 16th.

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.