Making Medics Mobile

In our last look at Citrix in the NHS and other healthcare organisations, we focused on the enormous value gained from simply fixing business-as-usual issues. Just improving the performance

of desktop terminals means that busy clinicians spend more time on patient care and less time “waiting for the computer.”

However, the same Citrix technology that powers virtual desktops in an emergency ward can deliver desktops to almost any device, anywhere.

Increasingly, we see far-sighted healthcare trusts making their medics more mobile. This can mean making ward rounds more efficient with tablet devices providing instant, bedside access to a patient’s records. But, it can also mean extending traditionally on-campus facilities to community care, mobile clinics and home visits.

A more mobile approach can mean reduced response times, faster treatment and improved patient outcomes.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Desktop to desktop

At its simplest, a doctor’s personal desktop can be accessed from any terminal within the hospital. That means that clinicians can, for example, open a desktop session in the emergency ward, then access the same session, picking up where they left off, in a consulting room or operating theatre.

When Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust recently surveyed its users, it was clear that clinicians love their new desktop and the flexibility it enables. Comments included:

“IT is fantastic.”

“Tap My Badge [Portsmouth’s single sign-on security badge] is amazing.”

As Dr. Simon Irving, Consultant Acute Physician at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, explains:

“The new virtual desktop has made life so much easier as a consultant working in acute medicine. All applications run much, much quicker and I can quickly log in to the terminal closest to the patient I am treating. Then there’s the teaching aspect. I can work on a presentation in my office, walk to the seminar room, tap to login and there’s my presentation, ready to go. No messing with pen drives, email or anything else.”

In-hospital mobile devices

From fixed thin client terminals or repurposed PCs, the next step for many is to provide on-campus access to records and applications on mobile, tablet devices.

That’s the ambition of Deputy Hospital Manager and Radiation Oncologist Dr. Reem Emad of Egypt’s National Cancer Institute, who says, “My priority is to provide our medical residents with tablets devices so that they can instantly consult patient records anywhere within the hospital: in the emergency room, the operating theatre or when making ward rounds,”

Having a mobile device to hand means doctors can access a patient’s records in seconds, not minutes.

And, personal devices, too

Citrix encrypts data in transit and secures it even on personal devices. Hospital data and apps are containerised on personal devices so there is no risk of data leakage, even if the device is stolen.

In an era where personal data plans cost pennies, many clinicians value the convenience of accessing hospital systems when they’re out of the hospital.

That’s not a case of squeezing yet more hours from hard-working doctors. It’s about helping them be more efficient, saving their time and delivering healthcare faster.

Bolton’s cancer care services love Citrix because it helps them deliver pain interventions faster. Consultants can access records wherever they are and advise or approve medication. In the words of one cancer care nurse, “Citrix stops people hurting.”

And, when consultants can view even high-definition medical images from their laptop at home, it means they don’t waste precious treatment time travelling to the hospital.

That level of mobility and flexibility improves clinicians’ work-life balance, too. Citrix makes it easier for someone to leave the office early and pick up the kids, then pick up their desktop session at home, where they left off. It puts clinicians back in control of their time.

For example, a surgeon and reserve army medic was able to keep on top of hospital email, even while on tour in Afghanistan.

Taking services into the community

A clinician’s desktop can be accessed on any mobile device running the (free) Citrix Receiver and using the person’s secure login credentials.

That makes it easier to provide temporary, mobile clinics and services within the community. Doctors and other healthcare workers running clinics in local healthcare centres can access the same desktop they use in hospital. Consultants can even access high-definition, 3D, diagnostic-quality images.

In Sweden, Karolinska University Hospital extended the Citrix desktop to their blood buses, mobile blood transfusion centres. By taking services into the community, Karolinska made it easier for people to donate blood. Head of the programme Susanne Seaton explains, simply, that:

“We save more life because we collect more blood. Last year, the blood buses collected 38,000 blood donations and signed up more than 10,000 new donors.”

And, they save time, too. Citrix enables the buses to be online wherever they have at least a 3G or even a GSM connection.

“Now we are online all the time; we can work much more quickly. It’s fantastic. The blood buses are very busy, and we process around 80 donors each day.”

“Whatever we can do in hospital, we can now do on the blood bus. We can register new blood donors, access existing records, match blood types, and label blood bags with barcode labels for easy and instant traceability.”

As a result, the blood is available for use as soon as it arrives back at the laboratory, with no administrative delays.

Many healthcare organisations see the advantages of mobile devices for home-visits. Having remote access means that notes can be entered directly (or in the car after a visit), saving time wasted re-keying information back at the office.

It also means that, while the risk of paper files being lost or stolen is reduced, healthcare workers have real-time access to more information and a richer view of a patient’s medical history. Again, time is saved and outcomes are improved.

Citrix and healthcare

Citrix has a long and successful track record of working with healthcare organisations in the UK and worldwide. We can draw on our experience to help shape the healthcare IT your hospital needs for the future.

To learn more, visit our Healthcare Solutions pages.

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