Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies and policies are receiving a lot of attention in the industry presently and rightly so. There is considerable potential to pull off the ‘win-win’ of achieving customer satisfaction along with a sound business decision.
It is always interesting to look back on how some of these big ideas started and generated enough momentum to become reality. At Children’s Hospital Central California, BYOD was a natural next step in our overall device strategy, as we partnered with VMware and planned to rollout a virtual desktop environment. Such an environment lessens the importance of the actual device, and instead shifts the focus to the connectivity of the device to the application.
Interestingly, around the same time Children’s deployed the virtual desktop technology that would enable us to offer a BYOD solution, a small group of physicians, including our chief medical information officer (CMIO), began inquiring about the feasibility of utilizing personal devices. Out of this interest and through collaboration between the medical staff and IT, the details came together.
Physicians expressed interest in utilizing their own laptops and other devices on the hospital wireless network to access clinical systems. This raised obvious security concerns over the type of access and level of connectivity that should be given to foreign devices on the hospital network. IT leadership worked closely with physicians to balance the security requirements related to the network infrastructure with the physician’s interest in personal devices access.
This collaboration led to the idea of a ‘clinical network’ (essentially, an open wireless network with connectivity limited to the secured VMware View desktop environment through which authorized users could logon and access all clinical applications they would need to care for patients) and served as the basis for our first iteration of BYOD.
This was expanded to include all clinicians, and by the time we were ready to go live, any physician or employee could utilize BYOD. It should be noted that although the technology would enable this wide-spread use, it does not make sense for all roles so we enacted an interdisciplinary policy to specify appropriate usage.
Thus far, our BYOD experience has been successful. The engagement and support we received early on from the medical staff was a crucial contribution to our success—it is always helpful when the customer base is so closely aligned with the outcome we are trying to achieve.
Kirk Larson is the Vice President & Chief Information Officer of Children’s Hospital Central California, one of the 10 largest pediatric hospitals in the country. Kirk has spent his entire career in healthcare and / or technology. He has consulting experience with the Big Five firm Arthur Andersen, vendor experience with the largest pure play HCIS company Cerner Corporation, and provider experience as the CIO of two different hospitals in California. Academically, he holds a Master of Business Administration and Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from North Central College.