In order for mobile solutions to make a real impact on efficiency and quality of care, they need to make both clinicians and IT happy—not to mention patients. So it’s exciting that health organizations like Wit-Gele Kruis are finding that today’s mobile solutions do just that.
The Belgian home-nursing organization faced challenges that health organizations the world over share as the aging population continues to increase. How could it better serve the elderly to help them stay in their homes as long as possible? Toward that end, Wit-Gele Kruis wanted to make sure that all the health professionals involved in its patients’ care could easily share and update information when and where it was needed.
“Our first challenge was that, nowadays, our nurses have an expanding role, which involves them providing more than simple updates to electronic patient record updates,” says Steven De Block, IT Manager at Wit-Gele Kruis. “To improve the quality of care, they have to share increasing amounts of information with other medical and support stakeholders.”
His goal was to give doctors, nurses, and other health professionals the ability to look up patients’ notes from any device with the confidence that all details were up to date. To do so, Wit-Gele Kruis needed technology that seamlessly integrated with multiple, existing medical applications. The health organization decided on Windows 8 Dell Venue 11 Pro tablets and provided the devices to 2,500 nurses with the help of Microsoft partner RealDolmen.
The Windows 8 operating system was chosen partly because it would allow for easy interoperability with the organization’s existing IT infrastructure, including Active Directory authentication and Group Policy. This makes it easy for nurses to log on to Wit-Gele Kruis systems while working remotely and also helps Wit-Gele Kruis ensure secure access across multiple health service systems and organizations.
“The other reason we chose Windows 8 was because it would be the best mobile operating system for the Windows-based applications we develop in-house,” says De Block. “We also analyzed future development costs, and Windows 8 was the least expensive option for us.”
The Dell tablets were selected based on feedback from the nurses who were destined to use them. “We opted for Dell mainly because of better battery life compared to the old devices,” says Marie-Jeanne Vandormael, Quality Manager, Inspection Service, at Wit-Gele Kruis, Limburg. “The new Dell tablets last at least two days without needing a charge; our old devices lasted just four hours. Also, the Dell tablets are lightweight and sit nicely in the hand, and they have a built-in electronic ID smartcard reader, which we use daily to confirm our visits.”
Now nurses can access multiple medical and support systems, so they have comprehensive, up-to-date information about a patient to help them provide better care during the 300,000 home visits they make in Limburg and Vlaams-Brabant each year. They can also quickly collaborate with other health professionals involved in a patient’s care. “With our Windows 8 tablets, we can easily communicate with other interested parties, such as doctors and home-care help,” says Vandormael. “In addition, we can use the built-in camera to take photos of injuries and forward them straight to a doctor, or upload them to the patient’s file.”
Nurses also like that they can use a number of applications, including their personnel app, on the devices to be more productive. Patients can feel more confident in the care they’re receiving, knowing that all their health and support providers are current on their status. And IT is quite happy with the flexible Windows platform that enables them to keep developing and adapting their in-house applications as staff and patient needs evolve.
Wit-Gele Kruis is a great example of how today’s mobile solutions can support the need to treat more patients at home—and do so in a way that makes for happy health professionals, happy patients, and happy IT.