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Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

NHS clinicians save up to 45 minutes a day through simplified access to patient data

NHS clinicians save up to 45 minutes a day through simplified access to patient data

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Even in some of the most digitally advanced hospitals and clinics I visit, I frequently hear clinicians grousing about access to patient care data and systems. It’s not unusual for todays’ healthcare settings to have multiple repositories of patient data in different departmental systems like admissions, lab, radiology, and pharmacy. Doctors and nurses complain about all the time they spend logging into and out of various applications over and over again as they go about their clinical day. Sometimes this involves using different passwords for different applications. Things can get even more complicated as clinicians move from one area of the hospital to another, and especially from one device to another such as moving from a desktop, to a tablet or maybe a smartphone. All of this takes away precious time in caring for their patients. But what if they could avoid all that by using a desktop solution that simplified access to multiple applications and patient records, and was even capable of following the clinician across multiple devices? Even better, what if that solution actually did save time, on average 30 to 45 minutes per day! That is just what has happened  with a solution developed by Microsoft and OCSL, a long term supplier of IT solutions to the healthcare sector, for Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in the UK.

imageLocated in Bedfordshire, Luton and Dunstable Hospital houses 700 beds with over 4,000 members of staff. The solution developed for the hospital by Microsoft and OCSL is called asseSSOnce. It provides users with one clinical desktop solution that layers over all existing applications. It is capable of working across desktop, laptop and tablet devices and creates a virtual desktop that allows session persistence from the office, to the patients’ bedsides, to the outpatients’ clinic. This makes it easier for clinicians to securely access data while making their rounds, confident that the information they are acting on remains consistent across devices. This mobile device-neutral environment also provides a starting platform for the hospital’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme and allows it to push ahead with plans to provide clinicians with tablet devices that can provide the interface via Windows 8 to the clinical teams.

imageimageMark England, Director of Information Management and Technology, Luton and Dunstable NHS Hospital, said: “Speaking to staff we found that their biggest frustration was having to enter a password and select the patient for every system. acceSSOnce eliminates this time consuming process and makes it much simpler to securely access information when moving around the hospital. This improves the lives of our clinicians and increases the amount of time they can spend treating patients and providing care. On top of this we can take a stronger line with regard to information security and governance as we now have a much improved audit trail on access to our applications. acceSSOnce has revolutionized how we look at results. Instead of logging onto different systems, we log in once and look at all of the results in one go, saving us time and making us more efficient. Any additional time saved by being able to manage patients more efficiently means we’ll have more time to ensure we’re discharging our patients safely.”

imageJane Ayres, Director of OCSL, said: “As Luton and Dunstable has shown, acceSSOnce can have a significant impact on the lives of clinicians. Forty-five minutes a day could translate to three additional patient visits. Over the course of a year, that means one clinician could treat roughly 800 more patients. Multiply that across the hospital’s entire clinical staff and that number grows exponentially again. At a time when budgets are being continually squeezed, acceSSOnce offers a simple way to improve productivity and patient care, by alleviating the administrational burden of those on the frontline.”

When it comes to driving adoption of IT solutions that impact clinical workflow, nothing is more important than delighting end-users. Solutions that add work and take away time from patient care will always be unpopular with clinical staff. I’ve always found that giving back time is its own reward—a reward that is always welcomed by busy doctors, nurses and other clinicians.

Watch this video to learn more:

Saving time with acceSSOnce

Bill Crounse, MD                 Senior Director, Worldwide Health            Microsoft

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