Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's a Tool not a Toy

I had to make a change….it was hard…my needs weren’t being met…..after lots of consideration….I got a new phone.   It all started when my husband made a change I couldn’t believe… he bought a Samsung Galaxy (aka the phablet – phone/tablet).  I teased him a lot…why would anyone want anything other than the iphone.  

My love of these little Apple Devices started about 4 years ago…..The first time I saw our software, Aperum, on an iPad I was hooked – mobilizing our software allowed it to be utilized at the point of care.  The ipad is so simple to use – it’s cute – it’s trendy – dare I say sexy. In the past 4 years, I have purchased dozens of “i” products.  (Especially after I met the REQUIRED otterbox – nothing breaks like an iphone.)   As we have grown, we have made lots of trips to the AT&T store to buy new iPads for our people.  On one such trip, Kristal (our VP) and I were waiting on the salesman to retrieve our next iPad when she asked about the Samsung that David just purchased.  I teased – I joked – but by the time our sales guy got back with the tablet we were logged into Aperum and playing with it on the Samsung.  Then….it happened….he began to run us thru features…I drooled…. These were things we only dreamed about on the Apple. 

Here is what I love and why I eventually bought a Phablet….

1)      The built in Stylus….I admit I thought this is really useless and will never be used.   I use it all the time – it automatically unlocks the device when removed from its safe little corner home.  It makes selecting and typing a breeze.

2)      Typing….using the slide function where instead of typing you slide the stylus across a series of letters.  Frankly, it looks like magic that it knows what word to select.  It’s super simple and quick.

3)      Writing…there is a function on the tablet where you can write with the stylus.  I will admit the first few times it wrote some words…. maybe it was just me getting used to it but it seemed to learn my handwriting the more I used it.  It became more accurate as time went on. Which was good because I had a really embarrassing demo when it translated what I wrote into a swear word…

4)      Voice Recording…yes…it works…it’s cool. Again, use it a few times before you demonstrate it….

Here is what I find troubling…..we talk to dozens of hospitals a month and it is a rare event that the clinical staff is enabled with a tablet or even a smart phone.  I am not even just talking about floor nurses – I am talking clinical leadership. 

When we show our software and how easy it is to use at the bedside… we have nurse managers asking their CNO if they can bring in their own tablet to use.  Why?  It’s not only because they see the value of automation in their leadership rounding process using Aperum.  Frankly, they see the value of smart devices – it is not uncommon for nurses carry their personal smart phones in the pockets so they can use aps that help them do their jobs.

So, what is holding hospitals back? Budgets? Device Selection? Device Management? “Ap” Selection / Deployment? 

Here are some quicks Do’s and Don’ts:

·         Don’t Buy a Tablet for one application. (unless it’s ours.. J)  The hospital should create a team to research and understand the usability for different applications in their hospital.  Different teams need different applications.  These applications should show value in safety and satisfaction.

·         Do identify application that align with the hospital’s care models and strategies to enable safer and more satisfying patient care.

·         Do identify a mobile device management platform that meets your needs.

·         Do engage IT…. I know it sounds silly to say, but there have been times when we come to hospitals and the IT department is avoided by the clinical department (which is a blog all in itself)

·         Do buy cases….a serious cases like Otter Boxes.  Make sure you engage your infection control team to identify how these devices will be cleaned.  We have tested all sorts of cases….ones with built in keypads, zipper fronts, plush, and flashy – some of our hospitals launch their tablets naked….let’s just say mistakes were made….

·         Do understand that they are practically disposable….did I say that outloud? Yes, just like your “purpose driven” wireless phones that nurses carry.  Either buy the replacement plans for them or have a budget allocated for replacements.

·         Do buy a nice tablet….I have the war wounds on this one…cheap tablets stink in a hospital setting.  Spend the money get a name brand.

We are going to be testing Aperum in some live environments with different tools in the coming weeks.  We have hospitals looking at the Surface and others looking at the new Spectralink Smart Phone – it’s fun to be vendor neutral and get to play with all sorts of different toys…I mean tools. J  I will update you all on what we identify as positives and negatives.

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Kourtney Govro