How health care IT and value-based care are shaking up the industry

Spending on health care makes up about one sixth of U.S. GDP, making the industry an influential force—and one that can be slow to change. Still, health care—and its technology—needs to be able to keep up with the latest trends if providers want to survive and give the best care to their patients.

One of the biggest shifts occurring in the industry is the switch to value-based care, in which physicians and health care providers bill patients for all service related to treatment of a particular condition, rather than on a procedure-by-procedure basis. It involves more sharing between different providers and, usually, better quality care for the patient.

It also means changes in how care is delivered and the role technology plays. Here’s how health care technology is evolving to meet these new trends. (more…)

How a 1,700-tablet rollout helped transform this health care company

When you’re in the back of an ambulance, you want your EMTs to have the newest, most reliable, most easy-to-use technology. You don’t want clunky computers and tablets from 10 years ago, and you don’t want a slow, messy deployment process of new technology to cause hiccups in your ongoing care. If your life is on the line, you want to know everything related to saving it is as efficient and up-to-date as possible.

Health care is in a more precarious place than most industries, as failures can have life or death consequences. That’s why, when one ambulance dispatch company wanted to replace 5,500 of the computers and tablets in its ambulances, it needed the process to be efficient, move quickly, and—most importantly—improve the lives of both doctors and patients.

Here’s how it did exactly that.

Emergency vehicles with problems of their own

The company dispatched ambulances all over the country, meaning that it had a huge supply of mobile devices. The tablets and laptops the company deployed ran the company’s enterprise app, which EMTs used to check patients and catalog their vital statistics, but device management issues regularly popped up across the board.

There was no unified management system that could easily image all of those devices. The ruggedized laptops and tablets were old, heavy, bulky, expensive, and on strange lifecycles. The company struggled to tell when old devices should be retired and disposed of, or how data was transferred or deleted, or if training was needed for a new device.

With all of these troubles, the company was looking for an enterprise-wide upgrade: an army of the same devices that could be managed by one system for seamless device and information integration. A big draw for the company was Windows 10, which it was hoping to implement in all areas of business in order to streamline imaging and management. It turned to Microsoft, which offered a good deal on Surface 3 tablets, InTune, and Azure to complete the deployment.

Tight turnaround, high demand

Despite this generous offer from Microsoft, challenges remained. The first came in the form of inventory. As the company’s longtime partner, SHI was responsible for sourcing the 1,700 Surface tablets and accompanying accessories, such as Urban Armor Gear cases and Compulocks DoubelGlass Screen Shield screen protectors, that would be used in the ambulances—no easy feat, considering the Surface tablets best suited for the company were not new models. However, by working with multiple distributors and leveraging its strong relationship with Microsoft’s Surface team, SHI was able to get access to Surfaces as they became available.

The second challenge came in the form of prioritizing the rollout. With so many locations and only a four-month rollout period, it was important that the schedule ran tightly to the expected timeline and properly prioritized each site in terms of need. By engaging with suppliers and the health care company’s key stakeholders, SHI was able to figure out which locations would implement the rollout first, manage the supply chain to accommodate that, and simplify the timeline. SHI also encrypted, imaged, and asset tagged each device, so that they could be sent to the proper location and work right out of the box—a process partly made possible by SHI’s new Integration Center.

Making it all come together

Upgrading its hardware allowed the company’s enterprise app to run much more smoothly, meaning doctors and EMTs can share patient information more easily than before. The Surface 3 is lighter and more user-friendly than the old machines the company was using, and adding the functionality of the included Surface pen and other accessories means that hospitals can check in and process patients faster.

The Surface 3, of course, also runs Windows 10, which can up productivity for doctors, nurses, and EMTs. By adding mobility and Windows 10 to its environment, the company improves flow of information between health care practitioners and patients—a valuable addition in a field where every second can count.

But it doesn’t end there. Although the rollout went smoothly and quickly for this health care company, there’s still a long way to go. By switching all of its devices to Windows 10 and compatible services, this company hopes to improve its communication and device management even further, creating a more connected environment that could help save even more lives.

The biggest problem with AI is also its biggest opportunity

artificial intelligenceArtificial intelligence (AI) is better at spotting cancer than doctors, will be our future chauffer, and can even cook, if you don’t mind some experimental taste tests.

Much of this still sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, and that’s evidence of how far this technology has come in recent years. Businesses small and large are already contemplating how AI can support their goals, and some are already implementing it. There’s just one problem: Often, we have no idea how it works. (more…)

Why your big data collection is failing

Dark dataThe world’s enterprise data is doubling every two years, but for most organizations, it isn’t doing much good. One in three businesses relies on incomplete or unreliable data, and only 4 percent are using best practices to get the most out of their data.

Unfortunately, most data uncertainty comes from simple mistakes business owners don’t realize they’re making. Data can be immensely helpful, but left unchecked, human error can turn a data lake into a swamp and render your data useless. (more…)

What IT can learn from greeting cards

Most greeting cards are basically the same: cookie-cutter messages in standard formats, each looking like the next. They get the job done, but most are one size fits all.

Which is why I recently started using Punkpost, an app that sends personalized, handwritten cards. Even if two cards are the same on the outside, the handwriting adds a unique touch that gets a better reaction than typical greeting cards. Each card is an individual work of art. (more…)

6 tech trends that took over in 2016

Technology continues to become more and more integrated into our everyday lives—it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t use software to help run their business more smoothly. At SHI, we help organizations across a number of industries find the solutions they need, from printer security to healthy cubicle hacks and more. It gives us a great view of some of the trends that emerge each year, including what hit it big in 2016. (more…)

Before buying a UPS, answer these 4 questions

uninterruptible-power-supplyWhen was your last time downtime incident? If you’re like the respondents in a recent IHS survey, you’ve seen five downtime events in the past month.

That adds up to millions of dollars in lost revenue and productivity – midsize companies reported one downtime event cost approximately $1 million — and possible equipment repairs or replacements. Lost or damaged data is an unquantifiable cost.

If you don’t already have a proper battery backup and power protection plan in place, it’s time to do so. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system that costs a few hundred dollars will pay for itself many times over if it gets your organization through even a single power failure. (more…)

3 educational technology resources to help any new teacher

educationYour millennial teachers are important assets. They love collaborating and sharing ideas. They’re masters of technology. They’re flexible, authentic, and always seeking new ways to engage students.

But they fall prey to the same challenges facing every new teacher: classroom management, lesson planning, and one-on-one interaction with students, among others.

As technology drives new teaching strategies and learning opportunities, it also gives new teachers better tools to save time, spark student interest, and measure their progress. Let’s look at three tech resources designed to help any young teacher. (more…)

SD-WAN 101: Understanding the technology that makes your network more efficient

SDWANThere are a few clear signs that your school’s network deserves a failing grade. Do students in the computer lab struggle to do research because the administrative offices are hogging bandwidth? Is it difficult to scale and manage, especially across multiple buildings? If so, it might be time to rethink your networking.

For many, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is the gold standard for wide-area network (WAN) routing. But if you’re experiencing the challenges above, it might be time to look into SD-WAN. (more…)