In Healthcare Communications, One Device Does Not Fit All � Yet
But that doesn't stop hospitals from wishing and hoping such a device does exist.
Indeed, on the day of the task force meeting, GE Healthcare (which has a significant amount of telemetry and other medical monitoring equipment at this particular hospital), along with its alarm management middleware partner, Emergin (now part of Philips Healthcare), was at the hospital painting a picture of how GE's monitoring equipment could be integrated with various communications technologies, including the magic device.
This was not the first meeting of this group, and while the agenda that day was exploring integration with medical devices and other alarming systems, next on the team's to-do list would be to look at the wares of the various carriers like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Unfortunately, this was a meeting I didn't attend, as it would be interesting to see how these consumer carriers (mostly in business to sell minutes and bandwidth) would be able to address the hospitals deeper integrated communication needs.
Healthcare Professionals Need Smarter & More Reliable Communication Tools
As the task force meeting showed, the need for smarter and more reliable communications tools in the life and death world of hospitals is powerfuland increasing, especially as hospital workers are being asked to take on more responsibilities and perform at a higher level. And older communication devices, such as walkie-talkies, beepers, and overhead paging just won't cut it anymore.
Similarly, given the operational stresses around dealing with and maintaining a multitude of mobile communication devices in hospitals, the desire on the part of those responsible for those devices to have a single device is not surprising. After all, being able to stock the smallest range of spare parts and accessories is just practical. Dealing with one vendor also has its advantages, both administratively and financially. And of course the desire to have a user-friendly device, not unlike the ones we use when we are not working, is attractive. But should procurement and asset management benefits win out in this conversation?
The iPhone Factor
At this point I should also mention that there was someone in the meeting waving an iPhone around. And as any healthcare telecommunications manager will tell you, watch out for the doctors with iPhones.