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iPhone use in Hospitals

June 18th, 2009

Physicians at Doylestown Hospital in Pennsylvania needed something that is a beeper, cell phone, and tool for getting information about patients in real time. According to a recent article from Apple,  the “iPhone became an instant favorite among Doylestown physicians, in part due to its ease of use.” The physicians rely on iPhone features like push email, calendar, and contacts from Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. One of the greatest uses has been the ability to give doctors secure mobile access to the hospital’s electronic medical records system, MEDITECH Client/Server 6.0. “Literally anywhere a physician is in the world, as long as that doctor has secure access to the Safari browser on iPhone, they can access patient information.” The iPhone has helped the Doylestown medical team work more efficiently, improving communications not only between doctors, but throughout the local healthcare community.

The key to using smart phones in hospitals is secure access, which is one reason some people are concerned about people using the iPhone.  The Krafty Librarian points out that at a majority of hospitals “Blackberry’s are the only mobile phones that are able to access email from off campus.  Many hospitals were very reluctant to allow iPhone users the same type of email access because of security concerns.“ iPhones simply were not created with the business user in mind. However, an exciting new app may change all of that. Citrix Receiver is a free app that enables iPhone and iPod touch users to run any Windows application as a service on their device. Connecting to a Citrix XenApp environment, iPhone fans can securely work with apps from Oracle, SAP, McKesson, Cerner, and other vendors. The only information sent over the wireless connection consists of screen taps, gestures, keyboard input, and screen updates so it is simple to keep data secure. In enterprises, such as hospitals that depend heavily on Citrix already, we should see more hospitals allowing the same types of access to iPhone users that we already see with Blackberry users.

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