Transforming MedChart Desktop Application
to a Modern Mobile App
for Canterbury District Health Board
Christchurch, New Zealand experienced one of the worst earthquakes in modern history. Local hospitals were severely damaged and lost most of their paper based patient records. At the start of the $40 billion rebuild of the city, the local health board decided to aggressively embrace digital technology with a strong focus on mobile solutions for nurses and doctors. Within 5 years CDHB (Canterbury District Health Board) was a leader in digital health.
As a part of their technology design, they wanted an iPad app that enabled nurses to administer medications to inpatients in a hospital setting. They had been using a legacy desktop application that forced them to walk the corridors all day and they wanted to leverage mobile technology as a strategic enabler.
Administering medication is a highly regulated activity so every aspect of the solution had to be designed with security as a top priority. Also, changing operational processes for nurses is challenging so they needed training and support to drive adoption.
The solution we designed included a middleware technology, called PowWow, that was fully integrated to the hospital’s medication application so that nurses could run their medication administration process on an iPad mini which fit in the pocket of their scrubs. Now a nurse could move freely between patients and the drug room without returning to the nursing station to use a computer.
The app was connected to the hospital’s Active Directory for authentication and deployed to mobile devices that had been hardened and secured with a set of policies and profiles to protect the patient data in the event of a device being lost or stolen. The solution was penetration tested prior to deployment and the entire project was governed by the eMeds project board that reviewed progress on a monthly basis over 2 years.
As a result, nurses now spend less time using a PC in the nursing station, less time walking the corridors and more time with the patient.
The design brief for the mobile app was based around the concept of Skeuomorphism to create a sense of familiarity with the trusted process in the desktop application.
For example, one of the ‘user stories’ that informed the design process was as follows:
“As a nurse, I want to see the familiar green pop up box confirmation that I have saved the edited administration details for the meds”.
The middleware technology platform and the mobile security platform require ongoing technical support and the app needs to be updated when Apple refreshes their OS. The solution has been in production in several hospitals in Christchurch since 2016 and the performance has been stable. These days, the nurses say they can’t live without it.
The nurse can select a patient to view their medication history and any overdue doses.
The nurse can select a specific medication and see exactly how to administer the appropriate dosage.
Medication conflicts and allergies are flagged on a red banner which mirrors the desktop experience.
Our integrated approach of software, security and support provided CDHB with a better outcome. Security was not an afterthought, but instead, was built into the architecture of the app. Therefore, penetration testing did not introduce any surprises as appropriate security controls had been applied along the way, saving time, cost and rework. Because we also provide the ongoing support for the app we developed for CDHB, our continued involvement ensures stability and continuity for the life of the solution.
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Mobile Apps | Mobile Security | Mobility Management