IT is making a huge impact on the health care industry, with the benefits of mobile printing playing a key role. In an environment where real-time, on-demand access to patient information is a matter of life and death, it’s critical to have the latest technologies on hand.
An HP report found that mobile printing can offer benefits to care providers across a variety of health care settings. Jim McNeil, a network engineer at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, says mobile printing gives physicians more freedom in their clinics and frees up logjams in emergency departments. The benefits of their mobile print implementation, McNeil says, include convenience and extend beyond easy implementation. The following are five benefits health care IT executives should consider applying to a variety of medical settings.
IT enables efficiency in settings where seconds matter and can make a significant difference in the care of a patient. Claxton-Hepburn’s IT team discovered that enabling emergency medical services (EMS) crews to “guest print” patient information was critical. They set up two printers that could tap into their current Wi-Fi network, enabling iPads used by EMS crews to print directly to the emergency departments. This real-time printing from mobile devices allows ER staff quicker access to need-to-know information. Physicians can also see more patients, reduce average time-per-appointment, and improve other metrics.
Doctors aren’t always tech enthusiasts. According to Healthcare Business and Technology, physician resistance to new technologies is grounded in frustration. Studies show that productivity can drop dramatically after new systems are installed, and physicians loathe having to turn their backs on patients to input data into a docked computer on the wall.
With the ability to take a laptop or tablet from room to room, mobile printing allows physicians in settings like hospitals and outpatient clinics to overcome the frustration of having to turn their backs on patients. Not only does this maximize physician-patient interaction and allow care providers to work from a company-owned device they’re familiar with, it can significantly save on the costs of acquiring equipment for each room.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the medical mistakes happening in hospitals in the US—patients undergoing the wrong procedures and waking up with one less organ or appendage, patients being treated for diseases they don’t have because of mix-ups in the lab—it’s become an epidemic. A report by John Hopkins University shows that preventable medical errors kills 250,000 Americans each year, ranking just behind heart disease and cancer, according to NPR. A full suite of IT is critical to reduce unnecessary deaths and crippling lawsuits from unnecessary or negligent medical procedures. When coupled with electronic health records (EHR), clinical decision support systems (CDS), and other measures, mobile printing can enable better accuracy in a variety of settings due to real-time information access.
4. Cloud access
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that information access is a crucial factor in satisfactory outcomes. Clinicians, patients, and family members all need access to complete and accurate information to make the right decisions, from a variety of devices. Having access to documents stored in the cloud allows care providers to quickly access stored forms for actions like internal patient transfers to add information and print in seconds.
5. Organization-wide information sharing
For organizations like Claxton-Hepburn, there’s a need to share information in real time across a large physical location or multiple sites. Patients may be transferred from their physician’s office to a near-by lab, or between hospital departments while receiving in-patient treatment. With mobile printing, any device that’s connected to the network can send documents where they’re needed. This enables physicians to send the correct information ahead of a patient’s visit to the Radiology department, and can ensure transparency in a variety of other hospital settings.
To improve patient care, health care technology should be user-friendly and support an organization’s goals of quality, appropriate information access, compliance, and more. The benefits of mobile printing can have an impact in many settings, from the ER to physicians’ offices, by enabling staff to get the right info at the right time.