by Hamish Barwick

Toughbooks take precedence at Sydney Adventist Hospital: CIO

Feb 09, 2011
CareersComputers and PeripheralsHealthcare Industry

The Sydney Adventist Hospital has adopted the Panasonic Toughbook H1 Health mobile clinical assistant for its pharmacists, after literally weighing up the benefits of the device.

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The hospital’s CIO, Chris Williams, told CIO Australia that after weighing up the large amounts of documents each pharmacist had to lug around compared to the weight of the Toughbook H1, the hospital decided to purchase eight of the device for its pharmacy.

In addition, other benefits of the device include pharmacists being able to continually update discharge notes and modify them as a doctor prescribes drugs, and patients will receive printed, instead of hand written, prescriptions when they leave the private hospital.

Before settling on the Toughbook H1, Williams said the hospital briefly considered using iPads but discovered that some of the VMware virtualisation client software it purchased was not compatible with the tablets.

He also described the hospital as a “Microsoft shop” and needed a Windows-friendly device.

However, despite the software conflict, Williams said doctors who purchased their own iPads are still able to use their tablets under the hospital’s bring your own computing policy, as long as a Windows emulation mode is used on their iPads to ensure it runs smoothly

“We’re trying to cater for a range of technologies which doctors have purchased and want to use in order to access patient data,” he said.

As with Mater Health Services CIO, Malcolm Thatcher, Williams will be watching vendor developments with interest to assess if other form factors can be used in the future.

Sydney Adventist Hospital information services project manager, Fran Vaughan, said the organisation now has a total of 25 Toughbooks, ranging from tablets to notebooks, and is considering getting more devices for its emergency unit and food service areas.

To aid mobility computing, the hospital currently has 300 wireless access points – which is available to both staff and patients – and plans to install at least another 50 points.

The shift from a paper-based environment to electronic devices is part of a long-term strategy for the hospital, which cares for more than 200,000 patients each year and is run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Williams is planning a desktop virtualisation deployment to decrease its fleet of some 800 PCs across the organisation.

“Within the next three years, we will virtualise half the fleet,” he said. “The plan is to complete this project in four years.”

Other projects underway include implementing an electronic record for nursing and physician documents. The hospital has already made pathology and radiology results available online.

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