VITAS improves hospice care with mobile transformation

To accelerate data entry, VITAS Health equipped its clinicians with iPhones and iPads, giving them more time to care for bed-ridden patients. The mobilization paves the way for a greater, cloud-first digital transformation.

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Few health-care sectors are more taxing than hospice operations, whose doctors and nurses have limited time to provide the best care for terminally-ill patients. VITAS Health, a $1.3 billion provider of hospice care, met this challenge by enabling its 8,000 clinicians to quickly admit patients at bedside via iPhones, iPads and mobile applications.

"We put incredible compute power in the hands of our clinicians," VITAS CIO Patrick Hale tells CIO.com. Mobilizing VITAS' clinicians is part of a broader digital transformation that includes boosting interoperability among health-care stakeholders, and introducing predictive analytics to augment staffing, Hale adds.

Health-care organizations worldwide have embraced smartphones and tablets to bolster patient engagement and improve care. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, for example, offers second opinions and consultations via mobile devices and software.

At VITAS, hospice care is inherently a mobile enterprise, with roughly 80 percent of the organization’s nurses and doctors traveling to meet patients at homes and hospitals, according to Hale. Yet when Hale joined VITAS in 2013, clinicians were still typing patient information into clunky workstations and laptops. And they were taking too long to do it, spending an average of six out of every eight minutes of a visit entering data rather than interacting with patients.

"We took a step back and said we have to get the technology out of the patient interaction," Hale says.

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