Tackling mobility’s integration and risk management challenges in healthcare

by Dr. Shainal Nathoo

Providing mobility to busy clinicians is increasingly recognized as an essential part of delivering care to patients. There are, however, issues regarding development, integration and security that need to be overcome.

Consideration must be given to the user interface. If it isn’t intuitive and user friendly, adoption will be lower, and an investment in a solution that is not adequately used is wasted. In addition to a focus on usability, the organization must prepare clinicians for any workflow changes mobility will bring about and provide the right support and training to ensure a high level of adoption.

It’s also important to consider integration with legacy systems. Developers will need to ensure that the solution works with the various healthcare systems of record employed by the organization. That raises some interesting questions about whether current systems need to be updated to integrate with the solution. Will the mobile solution allow for bi-directional flow of information? And if that’s made possible, what is the source of truth for information?

For example, while speaking to a patient’s spouse, a doctor might find out that the patient has an allergy to peanuts. But there’s no information in the system indicating any allergy. It should be possible to update the patient’s records in real time so other clinicians can immediately see that information. Conversely, clinicians’ access should be limited to their function. For example, nurses should have the right to view and administer medication information but not to prescribe medication (other than those approved by their registration and qualification).

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards are driving a new level of data interoperability and aggregation, enabling records to be provided to mobile users in real time. But, organizations will have to look at their underlying systems of record, not just mobility.

Risk management

As healthcare organizations prepare to embrace mobility, it will be important to ensure that corporate policy is addressed governing access to patient data — where, when and by whom. The right governance structures need to be in place for implementation to ensure that organizations adhere to policies about how patient information is accessed and how records are tracked with mobility.

A breach of patient data would be a serious issue. One way to guard against that might be to implement secure sign-in options such as multifactor sign-in and biometric login. But that does require the device to support such functions as facial recognition software and/or fingerprint readers.

While organizations might worry about loss or theft of a device, there are fairly simple ways to address this. For example, it’s possible to enable mobile access without storing data on the device. And even if data is on the device, it should be encrypted when stored, sent or received to prevent interference or misuse. Device and application profiles can also enable data to be wiped from the device remotely or enable the device to be locked or formatted to prevent further use.

Preparing for mobility

Clinicians want mobility and while challenges exist, there are many ways to overcome them. Ultimately, mobility allows clinicians to access records and data in real time and to send important patient information back into the systems of record in real time.

Mobility has been successfully implemented in other industries and in some digitally advanced healthcare organizations. The objective should be to allow mobility to become commonplace to improve healthcare workflow and enhance patient care.


Dr. Shainal Nathoo is a medical doctor with more than a decade of clinical experience. At DXC, he is the principal clinical advisor for Healthcare and Life Sciences in Australia and New Zealand. Shainal has extensive experience in strategy and operations in the healthcare sector, helping organisations deliver business improvements. He is passionate about ensuring that clinicians are key drivers in the transformation of healthcare to ensure that optimal care is delivered to patients.

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