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Panasonic TOUGHBOOKS Help Healthcare Facilities and Clinicians Stay Connected

California and Kansas-based Healthcare Organizations Optimize Patient Care with Mobile Devices

Over half a century ago, a movement was started in California to provide Chicanos and Latinos access to competent, culturally sensitive healthcare services in a familiar language. Since then, the organization has become one of the largest federally qualified health centers (FQHC) in the United States, serving over 300,000 patients through 27 facilities in underserved communities across Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Meanwhile, clinicians working with a Kansas healthcare system and serving nearby Missouri residents provide 24-hour services for up to 900 patients requiring home care. These clinicians travel as far as 50 miles from the corporate office and may make five to seven house calls daily.

Challenges | Delivering Exceptional Patient Care In Home Care or Community Settings

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the California-based organization discovered an urgent need for mobile solutions to support its health education and mobile unit teams. Non-essential healthcare services quickly migrated to telehealth, requiring initiatives that would have typically taken months to roll out and being implemented gradually over a matter of days. During these early days of the pandemic, the organization also had to pull back mobile health units as they did not have the infrastructure to capture patient data safely. Additionally, large volumes of personal protective equipment (PPE) donations required devices that were flexible enough also to support inventory management in the organization’s warehouse.

Over in Kansas, the organization determined that they required durable and reliable mobile computing devices to support their clinicians, who are on the road providing 24-hour home care services and often operating in accident-prone environments. The devices needed to not only facilitate improved patient care and visitor experiences but also had to stand up to regulatory compliance and patient record security requirements.

Solution | Panasonic TOUGHBOOKS Provide Rugged Mobile Computing Options

Thankfully for the Califoria-based organization, a donation of 125 TOUGHBOOK handheld devices from The Panasonic Foundation allowed the organization to provide a higher level of care to all patients.

The donation helped to facilitate the re-entry of their healthcare workers into the community, with Panasonic handheld devices to support vital services, including primary care, routine vaccinations, and patient surveys. The donation also helped streamline operations, allowing the team to move away from a manual process with handwritten records to a digital process with data entry into a CRM, real-time access to records, and handheld devices able to be sanitized and shared between workers.

The Kansas-based facility has utilized over 200 semi-rugged Panasonic laptops for its in-patient home care services for nearly a decade. To streamline and improve the home care workflow and address the growing need for clinicians to access reliable patient information, Panasonic TOUGHBOOK CF-52 laptops were deployed. With these new devices, clinicians can now access information in a timely and efficient manner, increasing patient satisfaction.

Result | Increased Efficiency, Accessibility, and Improved Patient Experiences

Many of the California organization’s patients were essential workers who were at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many lost access to employer-based health insurance and were unaware they could access healthcare services through community health centers. The marketing team, bolstered by the Panasonic handheld devices, worked quickly to go into the communities and sign up residents for health coverage when needed. 

Similarly, the civic engagement team was able to engage more community members during the 2020 Census, meeting with members of underrepresented populations where they felt comfortable and gaining their participation. The additional data gained on underrepresented populations will help facilitate public health outreach that can determine what obstacles prevent people from seeking health care.

For home care visits in Kansas and Missouri, the TOUGHBOOKS provide reliable connectivity that has increased efficiency among field clinicians. Integration with technology that connects to a Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network offers a highly reliable solution that helps improve productivity and patient care. Clinicians can document details from patient visits, review lab results, communicate with physicians, or access educational materials to share with their patients anywhere, anytime. 

“From real-time documentation to checking patient records to gathering patient signatures, the TOUGHBOOK laptop helps streamline the communication process from patient to physician, making the process better for everyone involved,” said a Quality Resource Analyst for the organization. Similarly, the IT Manager remarked, “The convenience of the laptop and its connectivity allows us to act more quickly and efficiently, no matter the clinician’s location. I don’t even see how our service would be possible without the TOUGHBOOK computers.”

“When our clinicians are in patients’ homes, there is always a chance that the laptops are in danger of getting knocked over, dropped, or spilled on,” said the Quality Resource Analyst. “These situations make a durable product a necessity for this type of fieldwork.”

“Our experience with the TOUGHBOOK products has been extremely positive. When we have a problem, nine times out of ten, it stems from software issues, not hardware,” said the IT Manager. “In addition to its reliability, the TOUGHBOOK offers features conducive to carrying out 24-hour services. Our employees have noticed that the batteries last longer than consumer-grade laptops, and they like that. I value the durability and design like the port covers, because of the protection they offer from dust, moisture, etc., which our clinicians encounter in the environments they visit and from simply being outdoors a lot,” he said.

“The backlit keyboard is very helpful because we are on call 24 hours a day and are often working in a dark room or sitting in our cars, gathering information to prepare for the next visit,” said a Registered Nurse. “The ability to sanitize the technology is also a huge plus, especially in this line of work.”

Overall, rugged mobile computers have not only saved time and money for both organizations but have also helped ensure greater data accuracy, resulting in quality patient care and safety.

“There are so many advantages with the TOUGHBOOK it’s hard to boil it down to one or two,” the IT Manager said. “At the end of the day, the reliable wireless connectivity enables our employees to access the information they need when they need it, and its durability gives the nurses peace of mind, so they can stay focused on providing great patient care.”

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