ellenHere at RES Software, we’re ramping up for HiMSS 2015. In my previous HiMSS posts my focus has been how organizations can “stay ahead of the curve” – which is this year’s HiMSS theme.

My point is that automation and user context awareness can be tremendously helpful for healthcare IT organizations looking for ways to ensure compliance and achieve higher levels of security.


Learning from the Teaching Hospital Experience

Teaching hospitals provide a very good example of why this is important. Teaching hospitals are rather porous at the level of Teaching hospitals require automation and context aware technologyhuman resources – meaning that people are constantly filtering through.  First, they have all the typical HR challenges – with new physicians visiting or consulting, temporary nurses covering shifts, and support staff coming and going. But in addition to this, they have the added element of new groups of students showing up each semester at different stages of their education to learn what needs to be learned.

This flow of people helps give teaching hospitals their vibrancy. They are exceptionally exciting places to work and are often the source of new thinking and medical innovation. But for HR and IT, the very characteristic that makes teaching hospitals great also makes them a big compliance and security challenge.

Ever start a new job and been told to focus on other things while IT works through the process of getting you synched up with internal systems? It’s happened to me – and truth be told, there’s only so much you can do without that access. This is annoying no matter where you work – but if you’re in a clinical setting it’s especially troublesome.

For example, to be of use, a visiting physician may need system access during her visit – which may only last an afternoon. If she can’t get in, the opportunity is lost.  And to start learning from the get go, students need access as well. Let’s say that a nursing student, who is only on rotation twice a week, can’t get online for a few days. This can throw a big wrench into the educational experience.

Automation, Context, and IT-as-a-Service

The point is that in teaching hospitals especially – but in all hospitals generally – people need to get stuff.  To do their jobs, they need access to systems, applications and data. Delays are unacceptable – but non-compliance with strict access regulations is unacceptable as well. So, how do you ensure security and compliance and allow access to specific systems, applications and data on a case-by-case basis?

To help meet this challenge, I’ve talked in my previous posts about a number of approaches involving automation and context awareness. Here, I’d like to talk about another approach: self-service IT. Many RES customers use the RES IT store that provides an Amazon-like experience for finding and accessing IT resources along the IT as a Service model. With pre-established permissions and context-aware technology in the background, clinicians can go to this store, order what they need, and – in cases like applications and IT services – get it all instantaneously or according to built-in business process approval cycles.

What does this mean for teaching hospitals? It means that people get their stuff faster – and it all happens in an automated and compliant manner.  The automated part is good for IT – which saves time, money and energy. The compliant part is good for the organization as a whole which remains – well- compliant. And that’s a very good thing!

See you at HiMSS. If you have the time, stop by our booth, #7174, and let’s continue the discussion in person.

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