BlackBerry-maker looks to ingratiate itself more deeply in vertical business markets
UK healthcare bodies are waking up to the efficiency and productivity benefits of mobile applications, according to Research In Motion (RIM) UK healthcare director Daniel Morrison-Gardiner.
Morrison-Gardiner said that, in an economic climate of public spending cuts, healthcare bodies are looking at mobile as a means to reduce operational expenditure.
He said mobile health (mHealth) solutions offer NHS and other healthcare functions an opportunity to reduce the administrative burden on professionals such as midwives, health visitors and community nurses, enabling them to spend more time in the field.
Said Morrison-Gardiner: “We want to allow health professionals to spend more time with patients to deliver a better quality of care and to remove the burden of their everyday activities. What is telling is the number of clinical system providers and other companies approaching RIM over the last 18 months to see how they can leverage our platform to deploy mobile versions of existing solutions.”
Morrison-Gardiner said BlackBerry-maker RIM is in discussion with a number of providers to the healthcare market about deploying its mobile systems.
At the Healthcare Technology 2010 conference in London last month, RIM, in collaboration with public sector technology solutions provider CSC, unveiled a new application for mobile healthcare workers.
‘Patient in your Pocket’ was dubbed a ‘super app’ by RIM, giving healthcare staff multiple functions through a single interface, including the ability to access and update patient records remotely and in real time, utilise GPS to navigate visit locations, record data with digital pens, capture images and add digital dictation notes. It also includes lone-worker functionality, allowing healthcare professionals to trigger an alarm if considered to be at risk.
Morrison-Gardiner addressed security issues for healthcare bodies in transfer and access to date whilst in the field. He suggested the issue has so far hampered the uptake of mobile technology in the public sector. But he said RIM’s BES is accredited by CESG, the information assurance arm of GCHQ, and is therefore suitable for use in government environments. Notable public sector bodies to have already deployed BlackBerry devices include Portsmouth NHS, Rotherham NHS and West Yorkshire Police.
The CSC system can restrict remote access to information from a BlackBerry handset with a smartcard reader also. A smartcard reader paired with the device can be used to scan a user’s NHS smartcard before granting access to the main system and stored patient information.
“Encryption is important but security also comes down to users showing good governance by controlling devices in the hands of staff. BlackBerry allows that level of control to lock down devices, block applications and to push out new services. The health service recognises the demand to be more mobile. It’s great BlackBerry architecture has been tested and accredited so it can deploy the technology and applications with confidence data is secure,” said Morrison-Gardiner.