Organisational changes in healthcare, part 2: How can mobile devices and apps be implemented in hundreds of wards?

This blog article was published 13.9.2018 and thoroughly updated 24.11.2021.

In this day and age, the use of mobile technology is expected also of hospitals. Yet, bringing mobile devices into the hospital environment for the first time is not an easy task. It requires in-depth examination of device policies, existing systems, technology implementation, as well as impacts on patients and personnel.

This article describes how the Medanets solutions are introduced into wards and how they are customised for various needs.

1. Policies

The organisation should formulate a clear mobile policy. A mobile policy is a document which outlines the rules for how mobile technology can and should be used in the organisation, as well as on how the devices and applications are managed.  Among other things, the policy must address these questions: which data is at stake, who uses it, for what reasons and where. A mobile policy written but then forgotten will not help anyone. Planned implementation and communication are key. Furthermore, to ensure commitment, it is important to involve the care staff in the decision-making process already at an early stage.

A mobile policy does not have to be made from scratch. Support for the process is provided, for instance, by Medanets, which has several years of experience in mobile policies. The tried and true procedures of our existing customers are worth gold to others grappling with the same issues. To give an example, one of our customers established a steering group to assess the needs of clinical professionals and coordinate, direct and evaluate the various digitalisation pilots and implementation processes at the hospital.

2. Compatibility

In terms of smooth functioning, it is essential for the new systems to be compatible with existing systems. Integrations between systems enable seamless data transfers without manual intervention. Moreover, the work flow of the care staff becomes easier if they are able to use a single sign-on solution to log in at each technology platform, be it a working station, a mobile device or some other device.

The Medanets solutions are always integrated into the customer’s existing systems, such as the Electronic Health Record and patient monitoring systems. The login method for the Medanets application is always adapted to the customer’s infrastructure to utilise existing login methods.

3. Customisability

Due to the varying needs and policies of hospitals and wards, the tools introduced into the organization should be separately modifiable. When the wards are able to customise their solutions, nursing does not have to be modified to meet the system. Rather, the system can be modified to support the current nursing processes.

With the Medanets Admin UI, entering and displaying data can be defined ward-specifically. For example, the location, name and visibility of each parameter in the application can be defined separately. The various features of the application can also be hidden if their purpose is not suitable for the ward in question.

4. Choosing the mobile device

Naturally, the needs of the organisation and the availability of resources affect the choice of the mobile device. When choosing the device, one should consider what kinds of features the organisation needs to access, and the kinds of conditions the device should withstand. The user-friendliness of the device should also be taken into account. Options include smartphones, mobile devices designed for professional use, and tablets.

Medanets solutions work mainly on Android devices. Currently, our solutions are most commonly used on Samsung J5, XCover 4 and Ascom Myco. As our solutions can also be used on iOS devices, our customers have the opportunity of choosing from several options. 

The care staff has found the smart phone a pleasant tool since it is easy to carry along. Furthermore, a smartphone leaves the nurse with one hand free to proceed with the nursing. We are happy to tell you more about our experiences with mobile devices suitable for various purposes.

5. Device management solutions and infrastructure

The centralised management solutions of mobile devices enable determining the necessary data security level of the devices for their secure use. This applies to the workspace of both trunked and individual devices. You should be able to install, update and configure mobile applications centrally and remotely. With risk management in mind, it is also advisable to ensure that the application can be updated quickly, regardless of the location or the user of the mobile device. For example, the most common operating systems, Android and iOS, are updated at a rapid pace with updates often requiring changes to the applications running on top of them.

Furthermore, one should keep a list of the devices being used and take an inventory of them periodically so that any loss of a device can be detected and protective measures taken. Utilising personal devices requires Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) support from the management solution, while the BYOD itself requires a systematic mobile policy in other respects as well.

With regard to infrastructure, it needs to be taken care of too. In the worst case, the customer may have to renew the entire wireless network in order to support the latest means of connecting mobile devices to a network, which is secure and compatible with the device management solutions, or just to improve poor reception.

Medanets supports all mobile device management solutions (Master Data Management, MDM / Enterprise Mobility Management, EMM) that include an application configuration feature. With regard to the Medanets solution, implementing a new device has been made as easy as possible so that the application can even be successfully installed by ward personnel if necessary. The distribution and configuration of smart iOS applications is so developed that a device delivered by the supplier can be opened in the ward and the personnel can begin using the Medanets application immediately.

Due to its offline capacity, the Medanets application will also work in the network’s dead spots, requiring no continuous network connection. If a device is lost, access to the Medanets application can also be blocked for the device in question.

6. Piloting

Before any comprehensive implementation, it is advisable to pilot the new mobile solution at selected wards. The functionality of the solution can thus be ascertained with an early response to any suggestions or feedback from the users on how the solution could be used its members in the best way. When piloting is conducted well, implementation at other wards will succeed even better.

The Medanets solution includes a variety of different features that can be piloted separately before the final decision. Moreover, we are constantly developing our solutions according to the feedback we receive. This way, we ensure that our solutions seamlessly work with the existing nursing processes, and at best, develop those processes. 

7. Implementation

After a successful pilot, implementing the solution can begin at other wards. Implementing the new solution in the organization will not happen in an instant, but once the stages in accordance with the paragraphs 1–6 are performed well, each implementation will become less complicated. In addition to the points mentioned above, implementing can be facilitated by emphasising active communication, training and member commitment, as well as management support for the system’s use. In addition to internal communication within the organization, there should be open communication with the suppliers as well.

Medanets supports the customer at each stage of the project –  excellence can only be achieved with a constructive partnership. The implementation project culminates in training sessions that are carried out as non-stop training. Medanets trainers will then personally teach the wards how to use the solution, on premise or remotely.  Wards may take different features into use, depending on their needs. After the training sessions, support for using the application will be available from trained super users and our Helpdesk.

8. Follow-up

The end of user training in the wards does not mean that the implementation of mobile solutions is over. In order to ensure the success of the project, implementation should be followed up afterwards. Any problems can be addressed immediately with the help of user reports. For example, if the use rate is low according to the report, the end users can be asked to provide a reason for this and efforts can be made to remove any obstacles.

With the help of the Medanets Admin UI tool, the customer can view observation values, medication administration entries, as well as the number of devices being used and the number of individual users. The data which identifies the users and patients is not saved. In addition to this, the system produces reports on the number of patients by risk category based on the Early Warning Scoring (EWS) and the risk assessment indicators. If there are unsolved challenges at your hospital regarding the use of mobile solutions, we are happy to help you. 

Implementing new technology successfully requires the project to be planned, carried out and managed with care. New tools also bring in new policies and procedures. The process does demand practice, but the benefits to the hospital, the healthcare professionals and the patients are proven to be real. – And hey, we are here at Medanets to help you in every situation especially when you face a challenging one!

 


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