In healthcare, the best information technology blends into the background.
When a doctor walks into the exam room and pulls up a patient’s chart on a laptop or tablet, the technologies making it happen should not distract from the doctor’s focus on the patient. Technologists behind the scenes know the best way they can contribute to keeping the doctor focused on that patient connection and the best patient outcome is by providing the most capable and reliable infrastructure.
Before I joined Citrix, I was a customer – an IT manager at Southcoast Health in Massachusetts. Now I’m excited to be part of an organization whose technologies are part of that bedrock infrastructure in many healthcare organizations, recommended by leading electronic medical records players as the best way to deploy their software.
But for Citrix, the potential downside of being the standard is that healthcare organizations sometimes adopt application virtualization technology as a necessity without considering it as a strategic asset. Centralizing and simplifying the administration of EMR client software remains a big part of the value we offer in healthcare, but the broader story is about fortifying, mobilizing, and securing the EMR.
Let’s go back to the physician walking into the exam room. Our doctor is under pressure to see more patients per day, and record more data about every visit, while still delivering quality care and scoring well on patient satisfaction surveys. Here are just a few of the things we can do to make that doctor’s limited time with a patient more effective:
- Speed: Minimize desktop and application login time, caching software assets on hot standby.
- Session portability: A doctor who reviewed a patient chart before entering the room can log into the exam room computer and instantly see that record without having to navigate to the correct screen.
- Mobility: Allow the doctor to use a laptop or tablet to access the EMR, making it easier to retrieve and record data while facing the patient, rather than sitting at a desktop computer in the corner of the room.
If we can save a physician 30 seconds a minute per visit by making EMR access faster, simpler, and more flexible, that’s time that can be reinvested in the patient. It might mean a moment more of eye contact between doctor and patient – or even a moment of attention that allows the doctor to ask an important question or spot a critical symptom that might have been missed otherwise. Anything we can do to keep the focus on providing care boosts patient satisfaction and provider satisfaction, too.
A 2012 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when internal medicine residents were allowed to use an iPad and the Citrix client to access the Epic EMR, “more than three-quarters of residents (78%) noted that they were more efficient on the wards, with a self-reported time savings of about an hour a day.”
My bigger point: healthcare organizations can maximize the value of their Citrix investment by applying it to their biggest challenges. If you let it fade too far into the background, you may miss those opportunities.
The way to get the most out of the full portfolio of Citrix solutions is to use them together in a thoughtful and strategic way. Do that right, and our technologies can still blend into the background – but the picture as a whole will be a better one for doctors, patients, and your organization.