The Azure platform offers a wealth of services for partners to enhance, extend, and build industry solutions. Here we describe how one Microsoft partner uses Azure to solve a unique problem.
Information fragmentation results in poor quality of care
A patient is brought into the emergency department with a deep cut to the leg. The wound is several days old and the patient is exhibiting symptoms of illness, perhaps infection. As a clinician, you know the hospital has a clear protocol for wound management and possible infections. Do you know where to find this information quickly? Is it on a wiki, internal website, or on paper in a binder? Lastly, is it current? Finding the right information in these conditions can be time-consuming and stressful. Or worse, it could be inaccurate and out of date.
In many healthcare provider organizations today, information is fragmented between electronic health records (EHR), on-line third-party sites, intranet sites, and on paper. Additionally, some information may be on secured sites, not visible to everyone and data disappears if it’s unavailable offline. This situation can be detrimental to the quality of patient care because critical data is available too late or not at all. Even with internet access, the wrong information may come from a search engine. So aside from the logistical challenges of making data available, it’s important to ensure that only the right information is found. So, the enduring challenge is getting the right information to the right person, in the right place, and at the right time.
The searchability cost of file systems
Even a facility with modern IT resources such as computers, tablets, or specialized instruments presents obstacles in the search for information. Users must navigate through the network and tunnel into folders, backtracking if they are wrong. Some folders may not be available to everyone or require asking for permission when time is of the essence. Websites and apps may also require authorization. So what happens if a device is offline? Computer systems present their own hurdles to quick access.
The challenge has become a problem-to-solve for one Microsoft partner, Tactuum, who created the Quris Clinical Companion. Working with some leading hospitals, including the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, they are solving the problem for healthcare. From the Tactuum website comes this description:
“Our flagship product allows organizations to push out to staff, in real-time, the latest guidelines, protocols, algorithms, calculators and clinical handbooks. Put your existing clinical resources into clinicians’ hands right now and know that they’re using the latest and most up-to-date information.”
Tactuum has a few notable goals:
- Right information: The content is vetted, with security safeguards. The content is easy to use, and data consumption insights are provided.
- Right place: Available where you need it through mobile devices, workstations, and EHR systems.
- Right time: Available on and offline. When online, real-time updates become possible.
- Right cost: Minimal IT involvement, low maintenance, and no paper or printing required.
The graphic below illustrates the components and workflow of the system.
- Improve quality of care due to more effective decision-making (quicker and more reliable).
- Save money on printing requirements, easier maintenance, and streamlined distribution.
- Innovation through powerful data and analytics.
The solution supports improving patient outcomes with critical information at the point of patient care, saving both time and money. Here’s one example, according to a registered nurse and Quris user at Airlift Northwest in Seattle:
“Time savings has been immeasurable. In the past it was required to have a workgroup of staff, educators, and medical directors to review and update the hardcopy “Bluebook.” This was very expensive and required significant time. Now, a smaller group reviews policies and resources, does updates, and uploads it directly to the organization’s server for immediate use.”
- Web Apps: Supports Windows and Linux
- Blob Storage: Multiple blob types, hot, cool, and archive tiers
- Azure Active Directory: Identity services that work with your on-premises, cloud, or hybrid environment
- Azure SQL Database: Unmatched scale and high availability for compute and storage
- Xamarin: Connects apps to enterprise systems, in the cloud or on premises
To see more about Azure in the healthcare industry see Azure for health.
Go to the Azure Marketplace listing for Quris and select Contact me.