BlackBerry-based telehealth system hits UK

US mobile systems provider CSC has launched its Patient in Your Pocket mobile system in the UK to enable mobile healthcare professionals to access and update patient information at the point of care using a BlackBerry smartphone.

Aimed at healthcare professionals in frontline patient care such as community nurses, midwives, health visitors and doctors on house calls, the system can be used to plan day-to-day appointments, retrieve up-to-date information about the patient’s condition during an assessment, and to collect data. Data is gathered via dictating notes or filling in forms using a digital pen.

Patient confidentiality is protected through the use of smartcard log-on and secure data encryption.

CSC told Clinica that future releases will target hospital doctors, who are highly mobile within the hospital and might benefit from immediate access to patient information without needing to find a PC.

The system’s activity monitoring system enables staff to register expected times for lone-working tasks, particularly late at night, with a call centre. An alarm is raised if those activities exceed the expected duration without contact from the healthcare worker. The alarm is sent to operators who will assess the situation and engage the appropriate services.

Asked if there are plans to deploy the system on other types of smartphones, the company told Clinica that Research In Motion (RIM), BlackBerry’s manufacturer, is CSC’s partner of choice. “Currently, for Patient in Your Pocket, BlackBerry is the preferred platform,” said the spokesperson. “In the future if there is specific and sufficient customer demand for other platforms, we will consider it. But they will have to offer the same levels of security and manageability as the RIM platform.”

Patient in Your Pocket will run on BlackBerry devices that can run version 5 or greater of the RIM platform, such as the Bold 3700 and the new Torch model. “The NHS is expected to continue to purchase their handsets and airtime through their existing agreements with telecoms providers,” she said.

“The applications are deployed to the handsets through the BlackBerry enterprise server. This allows us to ensure that all users have the latest versions of the applications. We consider this type of approach to be essential where the applications are being used to support frontline healthcare delivery.

“Although both the BlackBerry and Android operating systems run on Java platform, there are no current plans for CSC to do this. We would do so if there is specific market demand for this type of phone.”

First published on Clinica

One comment

  1. Avatar Phones4Education 13/10/2010 @ 12:57 am

    Does anybody actually know how long this has been going in America? It’s a superb idea but, thinking about it … Will most of the patients not be in to the elder category? And, will they be able to use the blackberry with the specified software in order to submit such forms? It would be very interesting to see A few reviews on how this trial is going, I thought the iPhone would be a much more user friendly application with patients.

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