Smart Devices – Just What the Doctor Ordered

January 29, 2013

ImageBy Kathleen Gaffney, Healthcare Transformation Specialist

Physicians will want to start off the year by utilizing their new personal smart devices in the workplace.  CIOs can prepare by understanding how physicians are using their smart devices and the type of support they are looking for from the IT department. 

Physicians in all specialties rely more and more on mobile devices to provide medical care. Studies show that there is no statistically significant difference in the volume of mobile device usage between Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, though there are differences across the medical specialties. Specialists have a higher likelihood of using smartphones and tablets in the workplace compared to primary care physicians.  Physician Assistants and Emergency Department Physicians have the highest usage rate of all specialties. 

Physicians rely on their smart devices for a variety of reasons — to communicate with other physicians, obtain pharmacy or medication-related information, and access medical and evidence-based medicine reference resources.  They would utilize their smart devices even more frequently to access the EMR if the information was presented via a friendlier mobile interface.

When using their smart devices, different specialties have different content needs.  Pediatricians use their mobile devices to obtain pharmacy and medication information more frequently than that of internal medicine physicians.  Internists frequently access evidence-based medicine resources.  ED physicians use a photo application to document suspected physical abuse injuries and video application to share possible movement disorders with neurologists.  Hospitalists use texting to communicate with physicians about their inpatients, and all physicians like to receive critical labs and reports on their smart device.

Today, physicians are looking for IT to support the following on their smart devices:

  • Secure methods for sending actionable messages that include Personal Health Information
  • The provision of an easy-to-use, intuitive EMR on a smart device
  • Clinical alerts pushed to their smart device
  • Reliable wireless coverage and high speed Internet throughout the institution

If IT can provide this support while understanding that different specialties have different volume usage and content needs they will be off to a great start in 2013. 


A Perfect Ten

January 10, 2013

Imageby Donn Wurts, Nexus Director, Healthcare Practice

In gymnastics, competitors strive to receive a score of “10”.  To receive a ten, the gymnast must perform their routine flawlessly, without even the slightest error in execution or form.

Perfection is also the goal for today’s healthcare organizations.  Propelled by demands for improved patient safety, improved outcomes, government regulations, and payment reform, healthcare organizations must transform existing IT models designed to support business applications (email, billing, simple communications) to ones focused on critical care (electronic health record, clinical collaboration, telemedicine,  bio-medical engineering).  With this transformation, comes the need for not only 100% network and application availability, but also the ability to support key initiatives like those published by the Institutes of Medicine and the Office of the National Coordinator of the American Health Information Management Association that include:

  • Immediate clinician and patient access to health information and data
  • Access to new and past test results
  • Remote ordering of prescriptions, test, and other services
  • Bedside decision support systems that include reminders, prompts, and alerts
  • Secure communication between providers and patients
  • Scheduling systems for providers, staff, and patients
  • Access to federal, state, and private reports

To achieve this information delivery perfection, healthcare organizations will need:

  • The right technologies – Healthcare organizations must implement systems and applications that are designed from the ground up to be redundant, reliable, scalable, and secure.  They must also be easy to manage and maintain and provide the flexibility to support changes in treatments, processes, or the regulatory environment. The right Core Foundation Services.
  • The right processes – Change management, security management and disaster recovery are just a few of the processes that must be altered to ensure 100% information availability.  However, these processes must also be combined with and supported by the “right” management systems and software to guarantee continuous access enabling clinical workflows and information at the point of care.
  • The right people – In many cases, the most significant challenge that healthcare organizations face, is to find the “right” people and trusted partnerships.  Currently, there are just not very many IT professionals whose skill sets combine experience in both healthcare and large system design, implementation, and management.  As a result, many healthcare organizations are turning to companies like Nexus Connected Healthcare that have the clinical experience, methodology, and processes to support them throughout the transformational, almost evolutionary process.

Not many gymnasts reach their goal of a “perfect 10”.  But for healthcare organizations, perfection isn’t just a goal, it’s an obligation.

‘Tis the Season, to Stay Connected!

December 4, 2012

by Waheed Choudhry, Nexus President & COO

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t able to spend them with our friends and family.  Phone calls, email, text messages, even video, can’t replace the time we spend together.  That’s why so many of us travel across town, the country, or even the world to be home for the holidays.

At Nexus, we know that there’s no substitute for the personal connection that’s established when people are together.   Therefore, our executive team is constantly on the road, meeting not only with our customers, but with every Nexus associate.  These informal visits have provided us with ideas that have resulted in better customer service, new and improved products and services, and additional investments back into the business.  However, we don’t believe a visit now and then is enough.  We also:

  • Hold Regional quarterly “town hall” meetings to review performance, exchange ideas, meet new associates and share our vision regionally and nationally.
  • Rotate the location of the Executive Staff meetings between regional offices to encourage casual discussions and spend time with our Associates.
  • Hold an annual, unofficial, Nexus social event between Mammoth and Lone Pine, CA, where associates can come and play golf, enjoy the setting, and get to know each other better
  • Team up to support local charities like our local food banks, Habitat for Humanity, and The Wounded Warrior Project to name just a few

It’s all part of our belief that we are responsible to each other for our success as a company – and as individuals.  It’s that responsibility to each other that makes us friends and a corporate family.

The holidays always remind me of how wonderful it is to spend time at home with my friends and relatives.  But sometimes, they also remind me of how great it is to share membership in the Nexus corporate family as well.

Wishing you and Yours a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

People with Passion

November 27, 2012

by Steven Madick, Nexus Senior Director of Applications Engineering

I recently attended a technical conference and got into a rather animated conversation with another attendee regarding the problems she was having with her network.  After a few minutes, she kept trying to position herself so that she could see my name badge.  After she finally succeeded, she said, “Gee.  I’m surprised!  I thought you were a sales person.”

“Why”, I responded, “just because I’m passionate about what I do?”

“I guess so,” she said.  “I haven’t met many Sr. Directors of Engineering that cared so much about helping people.”

I thought that was a big compliment.  But it wasn’t a compliment that was just for me.  It was a compliment for the entire Pre-Sales Engineering team at Nexus.

Many companies believe that their biggest differentiator is their people.  We believe that as well.  But at Nexus, we go one step further.  It’s not just the people, it’s the people married to our best in class processes and procedures, an organizational structure designed to provide the best service to our customers, the latest tools, and lots of on-going training.

The People

We spend a lot of time at Nexus making sure that we find the “right” people.  In Presales Engineering, that’s doubly important.

Presales Engineers need to have a unique blend of technical training and expertise, business savvy, and a passion for ensuring that every solution we design and sell meets the needs of our customers’ businesses for today and tomorrow.  But that’s not all.  One of the unique traits we look for when hiring a Presales Engineer, is their willingness to share information and mentor other members of the Nexus team or customer.  We look for people who take pride in helping others – with technical issues and with business problems.  And, we want our people to be involved and active in their communities as well. We thrive at Nexus as we approach 100 Presales Engineers who all are committed to team!

The Processes

Our processes are designed to ensure that our engineers have the support they need, when they need it.  Whether it is to check a bill of materials against an original design or track a project from design through implementation.  Nexus makes sure that Presales Engineers can solve customer problems with solutions that work, backed by processes that don’t get in the way of getting things done.

The Organization

One of the things we’re proudest of at Nexus is that our Presales Engineers are just that – Presales Engineers.  They have one job, planning and design, and we believe that they do that job very well.  Additionally, each engineer is assigned to specific customers and prospects.  That means they’ll take the time to get to know their customer’s business from top to bottom before suggesting a solution.

The Tools

Whether it is the significant investments in network design software, social media applications, Business Video, untethered access to information or traditional infrastructure, Nexus is hyperfocused on providing our Presales Engineers the tools needed to build great customer solutions.  Our tools enable Nexus Presales Engineers to collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team more effectively and design solutions that help our customers become more efficient – and profitable.

The Training

Training is how we keep our engineers fresh.  We don’t have a “Unified Communications” specialist, or a “Security” specialist.  Instead, we encourage our engineers to attain certifications from any or all of our partners’ technologies.  This helps them meet the Nexus goal of providing solutions, not selling technology to our customers, and ensures that there are a variety of career path options for them as they grow as individuals and members of the Nexus team.

The Presales Engineering team at Nexus is a passionate bunch.  We love to solve problems and collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team, succeed.  But we couldn’t do it without the processes, organization, tools, and training that enable us to connect, collaborate, and create solutions that work.

Accidental Benefits

November 19, 2012

by Alex Osorio, Nexus Practice Manager, Data Center – End User Computing

Sometimes the best discoveries are those that happen by accident.  Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming because he didn’t clean up his workstation before going on vacation in 1928.  For one of our customers, it was that his Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) had become a strategic corporate asset.  Here’s the story.

Our customer had a problem.  He’d found this specialized application for one of the corporate departments that would help them share information and collaborate more efficiently.  It would also help everyone to measurably increase their productivity.  But, after stirring up lots of excitement about the new application in the department, our customer realized that he was in a bit of a predicament.  The application only ran in a Windows 7 environment.  Everyone in the department used Windows XP.

Implementing this wonderful new application would mean new desktops and laptops with a new operating system for every end user.  Existing applications would have to be upgraded to the new environment and end users would have to be trained to use the new operating system.  Our customer sat down and calculated that the cost would be high and that implementing the solution would take nine months.

VDI looked like a good alternative.  So, working with our team, we put together a VDI solution that enabled our customer to roll out the new application in just sixty days.  Department members were ecstatic and our customer was a hero.  But, after a few months more, our customer discovered that his VDI implementation was doing much, much more for him than he’d expected.

  • It saved him lots of money – So much money in fact, that he was able to take those funds and invest them into a new storage and server environment that improved the performance of applications used by the entire company.
  • Software upgrades become a “snap” – With only one software image to manage, upgrades that had taken weeks in the past, took minutes instead.
  • Calls to the help desk were reduced by thirty percent – Users and technical support didn’t have to worry about the idiosyncrasies of the devices and applications anymore – and the calls went away.
  • It increased the security of corporate data – Access to corporate applications and data is provided only through a virtual desktop that is centrally controlled, and the company no longer had to provide laptops to contractors to ensure the security of the system.
  • It enabled the company to provide mobile access to applications and data – VDI made it simple to integrate mobile access for tablets and other wireless devices.

In fact, our customer was so successful, that other business units within the company came to him wanting their own VDI environments!

VDI was a pleasant surprise for our customer.  Initially, it was just a solution to a specific problem.  But VDI’s “accidental benefits” have transformed it from a tactical solution to a strategic corporate asset.

Hungry For Secure Wireless – and Pizza!

November 8, 2012

by Mike Zozaya, Nexus Practice Manager, Security/Mobility/Infrastructure

My favorite restaurant makes great pizza, but I think they could use injection of wireless technology.  The entire process just isn’t very efficient, and that inefficiency often results in frustration for both customers and staff – and reduced profits for the owners.  Here’s what happened last Friday night:

  • Our server showed up at the table and took our order by writing it on a piece of paper.
  • The server took the piece of paper and waited in line with other servers to enter the order into the proprietary point of sale system.
  • The server must have made an entry error because instead of putting onions on our pizza, the kitchen staff added olives.
  • The server picked up our order and brought it to the table, but as noted above, the pizza didn’t have the correct topping.
  • So, our pizza went back to the kitchen (and became a loss), and a new one was prepared.
  • Meanwhile, we sat at the table waiting.
  • When the new pizza arrived, we were HUNGRY, and it vanished in a flash.   It was time for our check.
  • The server again waited in line at the point of sale machine to print out our check, then brought it to the table and left to take care of other customers.
  • I placed my credit card on the tray with the bill and waited for the server to return.
  • The server returned and picked up the check, then waited in line at the point of sale terminal AGAIN to process my credit card.
  • Finally, the server returned to our table with my credit card and my receipt.

Wouldn’t it have been easier if:

  • The server used a smartphone or tablet to enter orders wirelessly.
  • A secure, cloud-based application automatically sent the order to the kitchen and the restaurant manager and, at the same time, removed the ingredients from inventory.
  • The server picked up the order (which was correct because the server also owns a smartphone or tablet and is very comfortable using mobile apps) and delivered it to the table before customers were so hungry that they were ready to consume almost anything.
  • When it was time for the check, the customer had the option of viewing the check on the server’s device or requesting a print out of the check from a portable printer.
  • The server processed credit and debit cards at the table using a card reader attached to the smartphone or tablet.
  • Receipts could be sent to a customer email address or again printed at a local portable printer.

Using a secure wireless solution, my favorite restaurant would be able to:

  • Assign more tables per server
  • Serve more customers at peak times
  • Reduce waste due to errors
  • Track inventory in real time
  • Make their customers happier

Bottom line, my restaurant would make more money and I’d probably go there more often because I knew that I’d get great food, fast.

Because I can’t live without the good pizza my restaurant serves, there’s a good chance that I’ll be back at my favorite spot in the very near future.  But I’ll be dreaming about a place where the pizza is great and secure wireless technologies make the service fast, the orders accurate and the restaurant so profitable that they become an international chain.

Three Cheers for Collaboration!

October 24, 2012

By Dave Elsner, Nexus VP of Sales & Marketing

I spent yesterday afternoon at the football game watching my daughter, a cheerleader, root her team on to victory.  I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that just a few short years ago when we didn’t use Cisco collaboration technologies (Unified Communications, WebEx, Telepresence, Jabber).  Cisco’s collaboration tools enable me to utilize my time efficiently and provide me with the flexibility I need to manage my business, stay in touch from anywhere, and, more importantly, spend time with my family.

Collaboration tools also let me to be in two places at once.  While I’m on the road visiting with customers, business partners, or my staff; I can still:

  • Use Telepresence to interview candidates for sales and management positions at Nexus.
  • Use Telepresence and WebEx to host meetings with my sales management team.  Employing these tools, we’ve reduced our onsite get-togethers from four times per year to only once.
  • Participate in scheduled and impromptu meetings, audio and video conferences, and remote presentations.

Just last week, one of our customers wanted to know if Cisco’s VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) could prevent users from adding apps to their company owned iPads.  I was able to check the availability of one of our practice managers using Cisco Jabber, then initiate an impromptu conference call with the customer and the practice manager to answer their question.  (The answer by the way, was “yes”, but the customer would need some additional management software as well.)

Cisco’s collaboration tools make it easy for me to stay connected with customers, business partners and my staff.  However, I think that the best thing about Cisco collaboration, is that they allow me to spend more time with my family and at the football game!

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