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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.

Vital patient information on the right devices at the right time and place

Vital patient information on the right devices at the right time and place

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When I meet with clinical colleagues the conversation quickly turns to electronic medical records (EMR). I guess it would be no surprise to most of my HealthBlog readers that by and large, clinicians have a love-hate relationship with the EMR. While most doctors and nurses are not advocating that clinical workflow and documentation should be conducted on paper anymore, they aren’t exactly thrilled with the electronic solutions they are being asked to use in today’s clinics and hospitals. Particularly for staff members who didn’t grow up with computers and imagedigital devices, the transition can be daunting. But even for clinicians who are so-called digital natives, the EMR in its present form is often less than satisfactory. Partly that is because clinical workflow is a highly mobile endeavor, and clinicians need technology and devices that can access and process information whenever and wherever it might be needed. Often times that also means aggregating patient information that is coming from disparate sources. Ideally, clinicians want a single view of what is going on with their patients.

With the increasing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) doctors and nurses would ideally like to access and process information using a smartphone or tablet computer (perhaps like the Microsoft Surface) that travels with them as they make their hospital rounds or examine patients in a clinic. Typically these devices are less intrusive during patient encounters. These devices, like their owners, are also highly mobile. The problem is that many of today’s enterprise EMR and hospital information system solutions don’t work very well, if at all, on these devices.  But, with the introduction of a new generation of slate tablet and very light, convertible computers running Windows 8 and 8.1, and some cool apps that bring out the best of these devices, I think clinicians will begin to find solutions that are quite a bit more enjoyable to use.

imageOne such solution is an app from Microsoft partner, VitalHub called VitalHub Chart. VitalHub Chart gives users a single unified, intuitive interface into multiple clinical systems. The application was designed by and for clinicians to deliver concise, relevant patient information at-a-glance. VitalHub’s mobile solution provides clinicians with an integrated view of the patient by rapidly accessing and aggregating data from multiple disparate systems, saving clinicians’ time and reducing the risk of errors.

This is made possible by the VitalHub Server. It accesses multiple electronic medical record systems, aggregates and organizes the data they contain and presents the relevant patient information to the clinician in an integrated, user-friendly interface. The VitalHub Server does all the heavy lifting, so clinicians can focus on patient care and not on the complexities of navigating an enterprise information system or systems. Additionally, patient information is protected at all times. The VitalHub Server uses multi-factor authentication to restrict system access to authorized users and devices only. No patient data is stored on individual devices or on the VitalHub Server.

imageVitalHub Chart provides a customizable Dashboard. It allows individual clinicians to select and display the patient information that is most relevant to their specialty and day-to-day workflow. Clinicians can easily add, delete and rearrange “Dashlets” to support their unique workflows. Each time a clinician uses VitalHub Chart, their unique configurations, settings and logic are retrieved from the server. This allows institutions to provide updates, new Dashlets and role-based options without requiring any effort from end users.   

To summarize, some of the best features of VitalHub Chart include one touch access to the entire patient chart; the ability to review and enter patient information on highly mobile devices; built in privacy and security by design; and access to patient information stored in multiple disparate EMRs. All of this comes with an intuitive, interface that was designed by and for clinicians. And with the power of Windows 8.1, clinicians are able to snap the VitalHub app (as well as other clinical or medical reference apps) side by side next to their full enterprise EMR application should they need to engage in deeper, clinical workflows. 

VitalHub Chart is now available for Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows RT. You can download it from the Windows Store.

Bill Crounse, MD        Senior Director, Worldwide Health           Microsoft 

 

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