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Mount Sinai Hospital

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Mount Sinai Hospital

iPhone provides vital link to medical records.

Saving lives means making fast, informed decisions. And at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, iPhone instantly delivers the information that physicians need to make critical treatment decisions. The hospital recently developed VitalHub, an in-house built iPhone app that gives physicians secure, remote access to patient records, test results, vital statistics and medical literature from its vast internal data network. Using VitalHub on iPhone allows Mount Sinai’s clinicians to respond more rapidly to patient needs wherever and whenever they arise.

“Our goal is to provide the cutting-edge best medicine, best teaching and best research”, says Dr. Thomas Stewart, Chief of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We need something that’s going to allow us to change rapidly. Five years from now, the medical world is going to be very different. With iPhone, we have a platform that allows us to adapt”.

The intuitive iPhone interface enables physicians to focus on patients instead of grappling with technology. “iPhone is driving this paradigm shift in health care”, says Prateek Dwivedi, Mount Sinai’s Chief Information Officer. “We’ve empowered our clinicians to just do their jobs. It's not about the complexities. It's not about the difficulties. It's about having the right information at the right time”.

And when it’s not helping doctors treat patients, iPhone makes it easier to take care of administrative tasks, Stewart says. “iPhone allows me to manage my day, to be on the go, to make the 200 phone calls I have to make each day, to connect with the literature, to take care of my patients. It does it all”.

Stewart notes that healthcare providers in the academic world not only have more patients to see, but the demands of research are great. “I have a vast amount of reading to get through to help me make decisions in the best interest of my patients. Tools such as iPhone help me get better health care to the bedside faster”.

Secure Operations

Incorporating iPhone into the hospital’s network was a painless procedure. The IT staff quickly integrated the phone with Mount Sinai’s Microsoft Exchange server, giving physicians full access to email, calendars and contacts. “It's a very simple deployment”, Dwivedi says. “We use the iPhone Configuration Utility to put the profiles on. We don't require a lot of backend infrastructure to manage these devices”.

Because of Mount Sinai’s need to protect both confidential hospital information and sensitive patient data, the built-in security capabilities of iPhone are essential. “iPhone allows us to do the two levels of user authentication that we require: using your password and VPN certificates”, explains Giancarlo De Lio, the hospital’s Manager of Innovation and Prototype Development.

“Whenever we implement new technology at the hospital, it has to adhere to our strict security policies”, Dwivedi adds. “iPhone is an enterprise-ready device. Out of the box, we have confidence in the encryption and our ability to manage the device remotely”.

Vital Apps

With iPhone in the hands of its physicians, Mount Sinai decided to develop its own in-house iPhone app, VitalHub. The app brings together clinical data, reference materials and patient information from 66 different applications within the hospital’s network — all in one simple mobile interface. Physicians for example no longer have to track down separate lab results or a critical test result from a different department.

Using VitalHub, says Stewart, “We now have access to exactly what we have in our computers here in the hospital. We can get access to our patients’ data whenever and wherever we want it. Knowing what’s happening with their drugs, radiology, laboratory values, microbiology results — it really enables me to make decisions on the go”.

“Whether using Wi-Fi or 3G on iPhone, doctors can access VitalHub no matter where they are”, explains Dwivedi. “They can review a patient chart before they come into the hospital, whether they are at home, in a restaurant or at an airport”.

Convenient Bedside Reference

The iPhone development and configuration tools gave Mount Sinai’s IT team everything they needed to visualise, build and distribute the app, says De Lio. “The iPhone SDK made it easy for us to realise what our front-end should be like, so that saved us a lot of time. We went the hybrid approach, with native UI elements living on the phone”. Once VitalHub was completed, the iPhone Configuration Tool allowed Mount Sinai IT to distribute the app directly to users’ phones.

Combining VitalHub with medical apps available on the App Store makes iPhone an even more powerful on-demand reference tool. “With VitalHub, I can see what drugs a patient is on”, Stewart says. “Previously, I’d have to call ICU and speak to the bedside nurse”. Once Stewart confirms a patient’s prescription drugs, he can use other apps on iPhone to quickly discover whether the drugs might interact inappropriately with each other.

“The whole concept of everything in one device, and being able to move between applications — it’s fantastic”. And De Lio adds, “The speed and performance of iPhone and the app is a big benefit for patients because all the information is coming to their caregiver a lot faster”.

Future Medicine

For Mount Sinai’s physicians and the patients they serve, the hospital’s decision to integrate iPhone into daily operations has transformed patient care, allowing doctors to make faster, more-informed decisions. “We believe iPhone is going to shift the way we practice medicine”, Dwivedi says.

“This is big stuff, more important than anything”, Stewart agrees. “iPhone is the future of health care”.

Company Snapshot

  • Founded in 1923
  • 470+ beds
  • Research and teaching hospital affiliated with University of Toronto
  • World-renowned Women’s and Infants’ Health Centre
  • www.mountsinai.ca
  • www.vitalhub.com

“iPhone is the future of health care.”

Dr. Thomas Stewart, Chief of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital


“iPhone is an enterprise-ready device. Out of the box, we have confidence in the encryption and our ability to manage the device remotely.”

Prateek Dwivedi, Chief Information Officer, Mount Sinai Hospital


“iPhone is driving this paradigm shift in health care. We’ve empowered our clinicians to just do their jobs. It's not about the complexities. It's not about the difficulties. It's about having the right information at the right time.”

Prateek Dwivedi, Chief Information Officer, Mount Sinai Hospital

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