Improving Patient Care with iPhone

With thousands of doctors, nurses, and administrators, the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System depends on the latest mobile technologies to streamline its services and deliver better patient care. iPhone and state-of-the-art medical apps like AirStrip OB let Memorial Hermann physicians keep their fingers on patients’ pulses even when they can’t be at their bedsides.

Based in Houston, TX, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., Memorial Hermann serves a metro area of more than five million people, providing everything from air ambulance services to a chemical dependency treatment center.

“Health care is a very real-time business,” says David Bradshaw, Chief Information, Planning, and Marketing Officer at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. “We need anywhere, anytime computing, and iPhone is the best platform for the applications we’re choosing.”

Secure Access to Medical Data

With its built-in support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, iPhone fits in flawlessly with Memorial Hermann’s existing infrastructure. “For me, that tight integration with Microsoft Exchange is very important,” says Dr. Robert Murphy, Memorial Hermann’s Chief Medical Informatics Officer.

“It’s as if you had the Outlook client on your iPhone,” Bradshaw agrees. “Accepting meetings, looking at email and attachments, downloading spreadsheets. It’s seamlessly integrated into our Exchange network.”

iPhone security features such as remote wipe and passcode protection keep patient information confidential while remaining transparent to users. “The security technology is absolutely not in question,” Dr. Murphy says. “Our security team has looked at the iPhone, and it not only meets the standards, it exceeds the standards.”

Physicians Gain Efficiency

The simple iPhone interface and Multi-Touch technology let busy doctors get up to speed quickly. “The phone itself is very intuitive — you don’t need an instruction manual,” says obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Marco Giannotti.

And with hundreds of medical apps available, iPhone becomes an instant pocket reference for everything from anatomical charts to diagnostic tools, allowing clinicians the freedom to create their own application workflows.

iPhone gives doctors “the right information at the right moment,” adds Dr. Murphy. “Having that information available right at the point of care, you feel more confident in your decision-making.”

Medical Apps Deliver

The iPhone advantage is highlighted by apps like AirStrip OB, which enables obstetricians to monitor different stages of labor even when they’re not by a patient’s side. Developed by AirStrip Technologies, AirStrip OB links individual mobile devices to a central AirStrip server with HIPAA-compliant authentication, giving obstetricians remote access to live views of delivery room data — including fetal heart tracings, contraction patterns, vital statistics and nursing notes.

“AirStrip OB is an absolutely indispensable app on iPhone,” Dr. Giannotti says. “It fundamentally changes the way I’m able to interact with labor and delivery. In a tenth of the time, without pulling a nurse away from what she’s doing, I get all the real-time data I need at the touch of a button.”

The option of viewing heart tracings in landscape mode distinguishes iPhone from other devices, and makes AirStrip OB an even better tool for obstetricians. “It’s just off the chart how doctors who have iPhones are using AirStrip OB, compared to those who don’t,” Bradshaw observes.

Better Care via iPhone

With secure remote access to clinical data, must-have medical apps, and an interface that makes it easy to view and interpret key information, iPhone is clearly helping to improve health care at Memorial Hermann.

“There’s no question that iPhone is making a difference in how patients are cared for,” Bradshaw says. “Especially the ability to keep clinicians in constant contact with patients and the actual care setting. It’s all about them delivering on why they went to school and became a doctor or a nurse. iPhone simply helps us deliver patient care in a more efficient, productive manner.”

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