On average, Saint Luke's clinicians carry out five to seven house calls each day, traveling as far as 50 miles from the Home Care Corporate offices and serving up to 900 patients throughout the year. Since healthcare needs happen around the clock, the home care agency offers 24-hour services for patients.
With emerging pressures faced by healthcare organizations today, including improving patient care and visitor experiences, regulatory compliance, and patient record security, healthcare companies are looking to technology to help them address these concerns.
Saint Luke's Home Care needed durable and reliable mobile computing devices to support their clinicians, who are on the road providing 24-hour home care services and often operating in accident-prone environments.
For the past five years, the hospital has utilized semi-rugged Panasonic mobile computers to operate their in-patient home care services.
The reliable connectivity provided by the Toughbook laptops has increased efficiency among Saint Luke's field clinicians by giving them timely access to data. By keeping staff connected to the information they need, they are able to optimize the patient's home care experience.
Because patient care is its highest priority, Saint Luke's has placed an emphasis on streamlining home care workflow processes in order to provide the best possible service. To address the growing need for its mobile clinicians to access reliable patient information, the Home Care Agency deployed Panasonic's Toughbook CF-52 laptops to assist in accomplishing home visits and information sharing in a timely and efficient manner. This decision first came during the Home Care Agency's transition from traditional pen-to-paper reporting to a digital process, leveraging over two hundred semi-rugged laptops for clinicians working in the field.
The conversion from paper to digital processing not only enhances the safety and security of patient health records and data, but also minimizes time consuming manual paperwork in a time where health professionals are expected to do more with less.
"From real-time documentation, to checking patient records, to gathering patient signatures, the Toughbook laptop helps streamline the communication process from patient to physician, making the process better for everyone involved," said Ashley Greco, RN, Saint Luke's Quality Resource Analyst.
"The convenience of the laptop and its connectivity allows us to act more quickly and efficiently, no matter the clinician's location," said Scott Hidlebaugh, Saint Luke's Systems IT Manager. "I don't even see how our service would be possible without the Toughbook computers."
The rugged reliability of the Toughbook mobile computers, combined with advanced integrated technology that connects to a Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, provides a highly reliable, totally connected solution that is helping health organizations like Saint Luke's improve productivity and ensure optimized patient care for its patients outside the hospital. At any given time, clinicians are documenting details from their patient visits, looking up lab results, communicating with physicians, or accessing educational materials to share with their patients, so reliable connectivity in the field is critical.
"When our clinicians are in patients' homes, there is always a chance that the laptops are in danger of getting knocked over, dropped, or spilled on," said Ashley. "These situations make a durable product a necessity for this type of field work."
"Our experience with the Toughbook products has been extremely positive. Whenever we have a problem, nine times out of ten, that problem stems from software issues, not hardware," said Scott. "In addition to its reliability, the Toughbook offers features that are conducive to carrying out 24-hour services. Our employees have noticed that the batteries last longer than consumer grade laptops, and they like that. For me, I value the durability and design like the port covers, because of the protection they offer from dust, moisture, etc., which our clinicians encounter in the environments they visit and from simply being outdoors a lot," said Scott.
"The backlit keyboard is very helpful because we are on call 24 hours a day and are often working in a dark room or sitting in our cars, gathering information to prepare for the next visit," said Ashley. "The ability to sanitize the technology is also a huge plus, especially in this line of work."
Following the success of the earlier deployment of Panasonic's semi-rugged laptops, Saint Luke's is currently deploying a third generation of the product with the Toughbook CF-54, to coincide with the home care agency's new EMR/EHR system, a transition that was completed in May 2016.
The overall benefits provided by rugged mobile computers not only save time and money for Saint Luke's, but also help ensure greater accuracy of data, resulting in quality patient care and safety.
"There are so many advantages with the Toughbook it's hard to boil it down to one or two," said Scott. "At the end of the day, the reliable wireless connectivity enables our employees to access the information they need when they need it, and its durability gives the nurses peace of mind, so they can stay focused on providing great patient care."