Doctor in Charge

The Mobile Clinical Assistant
by: Jerry Liao

While technology in the healthcare office has streamlined many tasks, many health organizations aren’t taking full advantage of the capabilities new technology offers in terms of point-of-care data access. Like for example a wireless environment, doctors, nurses or other staff can remotely access patient records, order lab tests, x-rays or prescriptions, and go online for more information or consult with a colleague-all from the exam room or bedside. Now staff can update electronic patient records on the spot, without having to return to a workstation for data entry or spend time searching paper records.

Have you been to a hospital recently? Be it private or public hospitals. Did you ever noticed the clipboards at the end of the patients’ beds? These bedside notes contains information about the patient: name, symptoms or illness and the medications given. What happens if one action was not written? That could spell a lot of difference to the patients well being. To me, information and availability to anyone who needs it is very important in giving the proper care to people who needs caring.

Just recently, Intel Corporation announced the mobile clinical assistant (MCA) is ready to enable nurses to spend more time with patients, do their jobs on the move while remaining connected, and manage the administration of medications. Motion Computing’s C5 is the first product based on Intel’s MCA platform and has earned support from clinicians and nurses participating in pilot studies around the world.

As Intel’s first platform built specifically for healthcare, the MCA is an important step in the company’s efforts to better connect clinicians to comprehensive patient information on a real time basis. The lightweight, spill-resistant, drop-tolerant and easily disinfected MCA allows nurses to access up-to-the-minute patient records and to document a patient’s condition instantly, enhancing clinical workflow while reducing the staff’s administrative workload.

Some of the Motion C5 features designed to ease the nurse’s daily workload include: wireless connectivity to access up-to-date secure patient information and physician’s orders; radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for easy, rapid user logon; a digital camera to enhance patient charting and progress notes, to keep track of wounds as they heal; and bluetooth technology to help capture patient vital signs.

As part of the solution, Intel and Motion Computing worked closely with electronic medical record (EMR) and other clinical software companies to refine their applications for use on MCA. Innovative technology and clinical software leaders included Allscripts, Cardinal Health, Cerner Corporation, Eclipsys Corporation, Epic Systems Corporation, GE Healthcare, iSoft, McKesson, Nexus, Siemens Medical Solutions and Welch Allyn.

To develop the MCA, Intel also conducted a broad range of pilot studies in hospitals worldwide, including El Camino Hospital in Northern California, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, and Changi General Hospital in Singapore. Social scientists from
Intel’s Digital Health Group conducted ethnographic studies of clinicians using the MCA at each hospital to understand the platform’s usage, usefulness and usability in the context of real clinical work practice. Across these hospital settings, nurses and physicians appreciated the integrated handle; immediate anytime, anywhere access to secure patient information and orders; and the docking station that allows them to easily swap batteries to achieve shift-long use.

“Today technology comes to the aid of those who help others,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. “The mobile clinical assistant was defined and shaped by the clinicians who will use it. They have told us it will improve their decision making and patient care while easing overall workloads. This is a great example of putting innovative technology to work
solving real needs.”

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, one of the leading hospitals in the nation and a frontrunner in healthcare innovation, collaborated with Motion Computing on the C5’s development. The medical center is now conducting pilots to measure improvements in workflow and nursing satisfaction with regard to patient care. The UCSF
Medical Center is one of many hospitals showing an interest in the new MCA platform. Alegent Health, a large healthcare system across Nebraska and Iowa, is also conducting a Motion C5 study, and hospitals in several different countries have already signed on to pilot and deploy MCA in their care settings. In the United Kingdom, Intel and Motion Computing will launch the new platform, highlighting their work with the National Health Service.

Intel worked closely with Motion who embraced the vision of a new category of devices and is leading the industry in providing a better solution for nurses and doctors.

“Delivering solutions that improve the quality of care is a strategic priority for Motion, and we have heard directly from clinicians how technology can help them spend more time caring for their patients,” said Scott Eckert, Motion president and CEO. “We’re excited to be working with Intel to bring the C5 product to market, as well as the healthcare software community to help build the MCA platform category. We look forward to extending our outcome-driven approach to help our healthcare clients achieve their objectives for clinician productivity and patient care.”

“The announcement represents a new kind of collaboration between hardware and software companies and end-users, such as UCSF, to bring a solution to the market that better meets the needs of nurses and doctors,” said Dr. Michael Blum, UCSF chief medical information officer.

There are many sick and dying people out there who want a new chance at a full and normal life. The advancement of technology in the healthcare industry is not about solving technology problems; it’s about solving people problems.

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