SA nurses turn the tables on work mobiles

Four years ago, Royal District Nursing Service South Australia (RDNS SA) had to force its older workforce to use mobile devices to manage their nursing workload out in the field, but now employees have become believers, even asking for the interface to look more like what they want, according to CIO Jodie Rugless.

Four years ago, Royal District Nursing Service South Australia (RDNS SA) had to force its older workforce to use mobile devices to manage their nursing workload out in the field, but now employees have become believers, even asking for the interface to look more like what they want, according to CIO Jodie Rugless.

Stethoscope

(Littman image by Katrin Morenz, CC BY-SA 2.0)

RDNS has approximately 650 employees that drive across South Australia to service 6500 clients. The average age of the workforce is 47, it's predominantly female and about 90 per cent had never used a computer before RDNS SA decided to go mobile, Rugless said at an Optus Business lunch in Sydney yesterday.

"Implementation was a challenge," she said. "Now, about 85 per cent of our workforce have immediate access to all the health care information they need to provide care. They do things like manage visit schedules, record their activity [and] this gives us great control over their security, we know where they are, we know they're safe."

Rugless said that while, at first, the service had to provide computer training to their staff, now the staff had begun telling her what they wanted out of the system.

"What my challenge is now is that every single clinician wants to tell me how they're interacting with the application. We've gone from delivering an application that is an enterprise app [to now wanting it to look] more like Facebook, with purchasing more like eBay," she said. "So, it's actually transitioned from something put onto the workforce, to actually see them demand what they want."

With 650 people entering data via mobile devices, the service couldn't afford to lose a couple of hours of data entry, Rugless said. When the company decided to consolidate four business sites into a single head office in Keswick in South Australia in April, the company opted to investigate using Optus' cloud offering for disaster recovery. Although the company initially had concerns about retaining health information in the cloud, Rugless said there weren't any "true barriers" to moving into the Optus cloud, and the move has been a success for RDNS SA.

"It's actually proved to be incredibly cost-effective. We have 22 of our Tier 1 servers in our cloud now," she said.

Rugless added that RDNS SA had confidence now that cloud is the right direction to take, and said that the service is planning to move email and intranet services into a cloud environment later this year.

Rugless spoke yesterday at an event where Optus Business announced that it will now include security-as-a service and distributed denial-of-service protection products into its Optus Evolve internet product suite for enterprise customers. Through a partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks, Optus Business will deploy an Optenet security solution onto its Optus Evolve product that will filter internet content, protect email from spam, provide antivirus and protect companies from distributed denial-of-service attacks.

The telco also announced today that, from July, Optus Business will provide mobile device management for businesses that will allow companies to remote manage, lock and wipe mobile devices in its fleet.