Thursday, January 17, 2013


Many of you who have read my blog for a while would read that title and think – here she goes again talking about food…not this time.  This time I am talking about the consumable nature of mobile technology used in the healthcare environment.   This post will focus mainly on hand held devices – in alarm notification that’s code for wireless phones.   I have heard them called all sorts of creative things – “workflow enablement tools” “mobile caregiver communication platforms” – all of which boils down to…. a wireless phone.   

Don’t get me wrong I was selling these innovative pieces of technology…..before the birth of #2.  (who turns 9 this week) While I recognize that platforms have changed (WiFi etc) – has the end user functionality really improved?  When a color screen is an “improvement” worth changing out all the handsets it’s kind of a sad statement for these little plastic wonders.

 I have been working in the medical device alarm and alert area of Health IT for many years (you might think I started working in grade school based on the number). I have noticed, wireless phones are becoming disposables….like gloves or needles…. (the sales tactics are certainly with that mindset) One of my hospitals has been offered 3 upgrades to their handsets from their single vendor…..when that happened all of the handsets (phones) needed to be traded in.   I heard that some EMR companies are wrapping it into the sale of their product….which just makes me scratch my head….and frankly should make any investor scratch their head as well.  Is that revenue worth the effort (because it’s surely not the margins)… it just a move to be more sticky in the client… it worth it?

When my clients ask me about the workflow of these plastic wonders, I quote one of my favorite CMIO  “It’s like fine tuning a model T, my friend.”  Really it’s time for better evaluation of end points, and if your hospital is still buying, replacing or upgrading your wireless phones….it’s time to rethink your strategy, ask yourself: 

·         Why am I buying a device that is as disposable as gloves?

·         Do I supplement our current wireless phone with other devices such as Ipads, Itouch, or other tablets (for those of you who have been able to keep away from the I-monopoly…..) could I combine it for more impact?

·         In the ever shifting reimbursement world – is a little plastic phone worth our time?  What’s the value vs return – could I attain more value with a different strategy?

·         If I have a lot of these devices…ie I was ahead of the curve 9 years ago – how do I phase them out to new devices?

·         Should I be evaluating the BYOD strategy for my hospital?

The point here is – hospitals are tired of disposable expensive technology that gives them Model T level experience?  They need to identify vendors that have the same mindset – how do we move to a modern “workflow enablement tool”?

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Kourtney Govro