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« links for 2007-06-21 | Main | Future Interfaces for health IT - under the hood of Microsoft's Surface »

June 25, 2007


Rob Bergin

The trick is not in the device, rather its in the device's access to the PHI - you see a huge trend upward in Remote Desktop, Virtual Desktop, SSL VPN, etc - where the device is merely the presentation layer in a class three-tier model. This being said - in the near future - devices will be all about access control, gateways to PHI but storage of PHI on them is not only ridiculous but unnecessary. I think the last remaining bastion will be VNA's their roaming, remote clinician model is tough but with a Verizon wireless card and SSL VPN, they too can be rendered free of the potential disaster than is locally stored PHI.



I run a Healthcare Pro List on HIPAA here, please subscribe if interested:

Rob Bergin

Two great links on Surface computing:

Popular Mechanics (7/2007)

TED & Jeff Han


Thanks for the comments, Rob, and also for the suggested links on surface computing. I've subscribed to the HIPAA list.

I don't think any mobile solution will ever be perfectly reliable. I think that one of the first hospitals to depend on wireless to support mission-critical clinical care will prove this to some patient or patients' detriment.

This will take the form of a 'system accident', a kind of 'normal accident' where multiple component failures interact in unexpected ways - e.g., a serious adverse event requires immediate intervention, the computer system fails to deliver prescribing information due to a network outage, and the nurse or doctor failing to recall the prescribing information due to over-dependence on technology. See for more on system and normal accidents.

Wireless apps need to support intermittent connectivity and to continue to function as normally as possible in a disconnected state. Even this level of sophistication is not enough, though. Health professionals need to be able to function without access to information technology.

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