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what the IT department considers good technology may not be considered great by nurses working in the ICU. Project leaders should also reach out to early adopters of mobile technology – including facilities that have already made this journey – who can provide useful “lessons-learned” insight.

Step 2: Conduct a technology and security needs assessment After the designated cross-functional teams have had their

say, the project team should then conduct a thorough assess- ment of their organization’s current IT systems to identify any technical issues that could impact the implementation of mobile devices, including any projects that are currently on the roadmap. This information will provide an outline for what the chosen mobile technology should look like. After the assessment is finished, the project team can begin drafting a requirements document that should take into ac- count the future technology needs of their organizations. An extremely important step is to categorize requirements into “needs” and “wants” to ensure the selected product meets the organization’s goals. Compliance with HIPAA and the HITECH Act come with the territory for healthcare IT departments. Securing protected health information (PHI) from unauthorized ac- cess ranks high on the priority list. Although there are several characteristics of mobile technology that make security more challenging, there are several ways to address the potential risks, including ongoing training, equipment lockdown when not in use, advanced password protection, firewalls, wireless network encryption and contingency plans for lost or stolen devices. Of course, ongoing maintenance of the mobile tech- nology solution after launch will require making firmware upgrades, installing software patches and updating virus/ malware definitions.

Step 3: Initiate vendor selection, project road mapping and solution launch A healthcare organization’s mobile technology solution will only be as successful as the vendor chosen to deploy it. After completing the first two key steps, project leaders will be armed with the information necessary for researching and hiring the best vendor. A prospective vendor’s track record in health IT imple- mentation and its customer references are two compelling dif- ferentiators that should be taken into consideration. Limiting choices to the top two or three solution providers will prevent the decision-making process from becoming bogged down. The final project road map should provide a detailed ac- count of every step in the implementation process – from project development to deployment. The design of an in-house training program that includes the distribution of instructional manuals and videos will also be essential for teaching clinicians and other end users how to properly use the mobile technology solution. A multi-phased approach may

best ensure that operational dependencies can be met and adequate resources are available.

Step 4: Develop mainte- nance, contingency and documentation plans The final step to a smooth mobile technology deploy- ment is the creation of a maintenance plan. Although often overlooked, this step helps organizations avoid un- necessary device downtime. Even technology with the best design and manufac- turing can break, but hav- ing a contingency plan will ensure there are backups for devices that perform crucial patient-care functions. It is also necessary to maintain detailed documentation of policies and pro- cedures that can serve as a reference guide for the healthcare IT depart- ment as technical issues arise. In addition, ensure that service-level agreements around maintenance are part of the original requirements documentation.

Achieving a

smooth integration An ever-growing number of physi- cians, nurses and other clinicians view mobile and handheld devices as a way to become even more efficient in their duties, with the added benefit of improving the quality of healthcare delivered. Wisely, hospitals and other medical facilities are ramping up their technology plans and establishing policies to keep pace with this trend. By fol- lowing these four key steps, healthcare organizations will be in the best possible position to deploy mobile technol- ogy solutions that integrate seamlessly into their existing workflows and patient-care processes.


The Rubbermaid Telemedicine Cart is an easy-to-use mobile computing platform that brings HD video conferencing, full computing platform, networked medical data, content sharing, plug-and- play peripheral connectivity and Internet access wherever it is needed.

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