Another successful HIMSS Conference & Exhibition has come and gone. The annual conference brought together more than 38,000 healthcare professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world to improve health through information technology. The venerable conference did not disappoint (and neither did the balmy weather).
Several folks from Anthro attended the conference last week. Here’s what they learned:
It seems that smartphones--not tablets—are currently the mobile device used most often in healthcare, particularly with nurse communication and data entry. The small devices are replacing a tool belt of gadgets that nurses would typically carry around with them, or rely on a cart to house. These smartphones are enclosed in medical-grade cases (think Motorola, Code, Infinite Peripherals, Honeywell) with swappable batteries, barcode scanning, RFID, and more.
Nurses are favoring smartphones over tablets because they want true mobility, which requires the option to go hands-free (i.e. a device that can fit in their pocket). Nurses are using the phone for quick intervals--- to enter data into their EMR system, administer medication, cross-reference medication dosages, or instant message colleagues—and then putting it back in their pocket when they need to go somewhere else.
For tasks not done on a smartphone, most healthcare providers still prefer to work at a laptop with a large screen and a full keyboard. Many people find typing on a tablet cumbersome, and it can be inconvenient to carry around (it doesn’t fit easily into a pocket). Others favor laptops so that they can see what’s on the screen easier.
During the show, our Marketing Product Manager chatted with a professor at Penn State who consults with hospitals and doctor’s offices about IT and workflow, and he said that he commonly encounters a “fear of change” on the part of IT professionals. Most of them are already comfortable with laptops, and thus, are resistant to switching over to something different like tablets or smartphones.
Tablets are being used in some very select areas, but decidedly not for EMR--- yet. Doctors are bringing their own tablets into work (which presents interesting challenges for security), but the majority of tablet use is with patients. Specifically, for check-in and discharge, surveys, education, and entertainment.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway our team had from its time at HIMSS is that mobile device use is more or less uncharted territory in the healthcare industry. There’s no clear path as to how they’re going to be used in the future, so everyone is trying everything. Smartphones may be the big thing with nurses right now, but that could shift at any moment. Tablet use may be primarily with patients now, but if EMR systems become more tablet-friendly, they could become much more popular with providers.
The healthcare industry is truly the Wild West when it comes to mobile device use. The best that those invested in the industry can do is keep an ear to the ground, and be ready for inevitable changes in direction.
Did you attend HIMSS14? What do you see as the future of mobile devices in healthcare?
For further reading, don’t miss 3 Ways to Successfully Implement EMR
, and if you’re in the market for a charging solution, check out our award-winning charging cabinets
Maggie Summers writes about educational technology, healthcare IT, and healthy living for Anthro Corporation, a leading designer and manufacturer of furniture for technology in Portland, OR.
Posted: 3/6/2014 9:47:49 AM
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What’s your position at Anthro, and how long have you worked here?
I’m Anthro’s Senior Creative Designer and have worked here for 6 ½ years. My first day on the job was actually my birthday, but I thought it would be awkward to bring that fact up on my first day, so I didn’t tell anybody. Didn’t want to start off being the weird guy who goes around telling complete strangers that it’s his birthday.
What's your favorite thing about Anthro Corporation?
We have some of the best down-to-earth people here who accept you with open arms. I can talk with the founders about what my kids are up to or with the engineers about their latest patents, or with anyone in the plant about our manufacturing processes and feel that they’re all more than happy to give me their attention.
Tell us something that happened while working at Anthro that you haven't forgotten.
At a company meeting a few years ago, we had a sing-off contest where Cathy would award Blazer tickets to whoever got the biggest applause for standing in front of the group and singing “Jingle Bells”. There were 3 contestants. First was Sandra from HR who has a great singing voice and got everyone clapping along. But next came Earnie, who was our Web Developer and normally a very strait-laced guy. He decided to spice up his version with an interpretative dance. It was completely out of character and extremely bizarre and I laughed my head off. The third contestant was Joe from Engineering who just backed away saying, “I’m not even going to try and beat that.” Hope Earnie enjoyed the game because he certainly earned the tickets.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
That I’m reserved and introverted. Most Anthro folks know me as the guy who emcees the monthly company meetings and gets up in front of folks and isn’t afraid to do goofy stuff every now and then, but I was really shy as a kid. It wasn’t until high school that I started observing extroverts I admired and copying some of their habits. The one that stuck out to me the most was that they seemed to know everyone. So I spent time studying the yearbook and memorizing everyone’s name and associating it with their picture – a really introverted way of handling that. Eventually I could walk down any hall and say hi to everyone by name. I did the same thing in college and again here at Anthro. I guess it just helps me be more prepared for social situations. But I still like my focused, quiet time – my favorite read from last year was appropriately “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.
On a scale from 1 (it was torture) to 10 (it was great), how would you rate your experience as an Anthro model?
9 – I’ve had plenty of experience behind the camera, so I know some of the techniques I’ve used on others to get them to stay loose and look natural. But there’s still that little bit of anxiety in front of the camera when you’re wondering, “do I have something in my teeth?” But nobody here is a professional model, so we try and keep it loose and enjoyable for everyone involved. And hopefully that comes across in our photos.
Check back next month for another Q&A with one of our employees. In the meantime, meet Brent Knight!
Posted: 3/4/2014 8:21:30 AM
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In all corners of the world, mobile devices are changing the way we live. Hotels are using tablets for room service, airlines are using them for navigation, and perhaps no industry has been transformed by mobile devices as radically (and as quickly) as education.
This shift to mobile will inevitably reach the healthcare industry, and because it’s such a multifaceted and complicated industry, it will bring a whole host of new challenges. Here are three important ones:
Managing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Manhattan Research recently reported
that 72% of physicians surveyed own a tablet devices (up 27% from the year before), and found that almost 50% of them used the device while helping a patient. Moreover, IT research group CompTIA found that
nearly 1/3 of healthcare providers currently use smartphones or tablets to access EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records) systems.
Statistics like those raise huge red flags. Security is one of the biggest concerns, if not the biggest concern, for healthcare providers. If doctors have access medical records on their personal devices, then those devices must be secure and protected against possible hacks or breaches in patient confidentiality.
Understanding Patients’ Expectations
For every person who loves using a tablet to check out at a store, there’s another person who hates it. People have very different reactions to, and opinions, of technology, which presents another challenge to implementing mobile devices in healthcare.
Let’s say a doctor enters your exam room with a tablet device. He takes some notes on it while you’re talking, and then maybe he uses it to show you an x-ray up close. Some patients may react to that experience positively: they’re getting more personal attention, and they better understand what the doctor is explaining. Other patients may react negatively: they’re uncomfortable with the device, and feel as though it’s too informal of an interaction with their doctor.
Healthcare providers must do their best to understand patients’ expectations. CompTIA found that
80% of providers rate improving communication with patients as high or mid-level priority. Mobile devices can help, but only if patients’ expectations are understood and appreciated.
Appeasing all Stakeholders
In the healthcare industry, as in most industry sectors, there are many stakeholders to consider when making decisions about technology; stakeholders whose needs and wants don’t necessarily match up. It’s likely that IT professionals envision a mobile device implementation plan different from physicians. Likewise, it’s likely that patients and clinicians have different ideas of how to use mobile devices in healthcare.
Each group’s concerns should be taken into account when making decisions about mobile devices. After all, the entire purpose of implementing mobile devices in healthcare is to make experiences better, and if a large group of people isn’t on board, it’s going to be a wasted effort.
Mobile devices have disrupted and enriched industry after industry, and all signs point to healthcare as the next frontier. Challenges abound, but once the growing pains are over, everyone will reap the benefits of having mobile devices in healthcare.
Implementing a fleet of mobile devices in a hospital or other healthcare environment? Take a look at our award-winning charging solutions to keep devices charged and ready to use.
Posted: 2/24/2014 2:39:23 PM
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We’re a tight knit group here at Anthro, and nothing proves that fact more than how many people have found love while working at Anthro. It’s said that there’s nothing but trouble in getting romantically involved with a coworker, but for these four couples, it was one of the best decisions of their lives. Who knew Anthro was so good at playing matchmaker?
In case you missed it, read the story of when we got our very first piece of machinery. Thanks to all of you for your continued support. We’re excited for what’s to come!
Posted: 2/19/2014 3:15:06 PM
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We recently had the chance to talk with Rushton Hurley, founder and executive director of Next Vista for Learning, which houses a library of more than 1,000 free videos made by and for teachers and students. A former Japanese language teacher, Hurley speaks at conferences around the country to help teachers discover how digital media can transform their classrooms. Here’s what we learned:
Can you tell us a little bit more about Next Vista and its mission?
Our goal is to have short, educational videos that inspire students and teachers. We’re trying to highlight creativity in learning. So, if a student has a really clever way of describing something, then let’s share that with the world. And if a teacher has a great way of explaining something, then let’s get that out there. Because, you know, there may be a kid who watches that and says, “Oh, I get it now!” Or a teacher who watches it and says “Oh, that’s really going to help me in how I think about explaining things to kids.” It’s seriously good fun.
What do you believe is the biggest obstacle in education technology today?
I believe the biggest obstacle is not a technical one– it's the unwillingness to make professional exploration a priority in our schools. For technology, given the wealth of free powerful tools and resources available for teaching and learning, the key is simply to make time to see what's of interest, and explore possibilities with what one finds with colleagues and students.
What current trends are you seeing today in education technology?
The most important trend may be the move from a calendar-based curriculum to a proficiency-based one. We've talked about moving from sage to guide for years, but now there is an effect for not doing so: which is the creative advantage that students who learn to direct their own learning have over those who have simply followed the rules in a traditional environment.
What future education trends do you anticipate?
I'm one of many who believe that game-based learning will be the major force for changes in schooling in the coming 3-8 years. I also believe that digital media, in having allowed students to expand the audience for their work, will become a more prominent resource for helping students significantly improve the quality of their work.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle regarding technology being affordable for educators? Do you see this improving at all?
Good technology is already affordable. By and large, it's free. If educators want to spend money on what's available, they should do so not by simply requesting what could be helpful, but instead by first having shown what they can do with free tools and resources, and explaining how what is to be purchased will allow them to expand those activities in productive ways.
Next Vista for Learning is hosting a Super Thoughts Video Contest for teachers and students. The deadline to enter is April 25, 2014. Learn more about the contest here.
Check out our interviews with Brad Baugher from Oregon Episcopal School and Joe Morelock from Canby School District to read more educators’ thoughts on edtech, and if you’re in the market for a charging solution, don’t miss our award-winning line of charging carts and cabinets.
Posted: 2/18/2014 8:16:34 AM
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