NetMotion Wireless Boosts Mobile Productivity for Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Background: Since 1893 the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) has been providing home healthcare to patients in New York City. Today the organization's 2,500 clinicians deliver home healthcare services ranging from pediatric to elder care, psychiatric assessments to AIDS treatment, and short-term interventions to long-term management. VNSNY clinicians visit patients throughout New York City's five boroughs, Westchester County, and Nassau County on Long Island. VNSNY is the largest home healthcare organization in the United States. In a typical year its clinicians make more than 2.2 million visits to more than 115,000 patients.
Challenges: Since the mid-1990s VNSNY has been working to eliminate its clinicians' use of paper forms. Clinicians originally recorded notes by hand during their daily patient rounds and also attempted to fill out forms while attending to patients. To simplify access to patient data VNSNY deployed tablet PCs to their mobile workforce. This gave the nurses remote access to their main database via dial-up or 802.11 wireless connection at any of their regional offices. Over the years this has been in place, the clinicians have seen productivity enhancements from easier access to patient data.
But more recently the IT team noticed spikes in data traffic when clinicians connected to the VNSNY network at the beginning of the workday, to download new patient information to their tablets, and at the end of the workday, to upload new data from that day's visits. These spikes in data transmissions started to cause a slow down in access to their servers which in turn threatened the productivity improvements that VNSNY had realized.
During this same timeframe cellular data carriers began offering significantly faster transmission speeds across their networks. VNSNY's IT team saw this as a way of bridging the gap in data access to their remote workers and began deploying wireless data cards to their clinicians. This allowed greater, more ubiquitous access to information at any time during the day and freed workers from only accessing data via dial-up or from VNSNY's Wi-Fi network.
Increased access to information created challenges for VNSNY's IT team. "We went from dial-up to WLAN to now also offering wide area data network access," explains Randy Cleghorne, Director of IT for VNSNY, "but with every new method of data access we also added more complexity for the clinicians. Our goal has always been to try to streamline the technology and make it easier for the clinicians to focus on their jobs not their devices."
Best Deployment Scenario - VPN/IPSec/SSL
Solution provided: After reviewing three different solutions VNSNY chose NetMotion Wireless' flagship mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN): Mobility XE™. The IT director wanted a solution that would be easy to implement and manage and appreciated Mobility XE's capabilities including the option to push out anti-virus updates to the wireless devices the clinicians use.
Using Mobility XE, VNSNY's clinicians are now able to focus more of their attention on their patients and not on the technologies they use. In addition, the IT team has found a way to simplify the method for accessing data while ensuring that information is secure. VNSNY is one of NetMotion's largest healthcare customers. Today VNSNY uses tablet PCs with NetMotion software installed to boost mobile productivity including: simplified access to patient data over Wi-Fi and Wide-Area Cellular; seamless transitions between multiple wide-area networks; sustained applications even as workers move in and out of wireless coverage areas: provides clinicians with an electronic access to medical records and reports from any wired or wireless location in the system; doctors and nurses no longer have to re-connect or re-log in to applications or to re-enter lost data when connections are lost. As the IT team continues its rollout of remote access more divisions such as the hospice teams will begin receiving remote access using Mobility XE.
Summary: Since deploying the Mobility XE software VNSNY's mobile clinicians now benefit from: roaming between networks without intervention; secure access to EMRs & point-of-care applications; control of access to Internet sites; protection against viruses; freedom for clinicians to focus on patient care; and real-time data entry that facilitates faster billing.