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CIO discusses health systems' projects with mobile healthcare services

Mobile healthcare services are really about the patient and the patient experience, Jon Russell, senior vice president and CIO at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek, Calif., said.

"The real question I think that we're answering with mobile health is going to be the consumerization of healthcare," Russell said.

Patients aren't simply just patients anymore; they're consumers, too. And as consumers, they expect to have the same experience from mobile healthcare services as they do purchasing a plane ticket from an airline's mobile app or shopping on Amazon's app. This is what patients are focused on, Russell said.

Russell explained that in healthcare, providing a seamless consumer experience to patients includes everything from being able to make an appointment on a mobile phone to paying bills to being able to view personal health data, including a family member's health data if necessary.

John Muir Health is working to make this a reality with its patient portal,, and the portal's corresponding mobile application that patients can download.

Russell explained that through their patient portal and mobile application, patients can set up appointments, view their radiology and laboratory lab results, securely message their provider, as well as have an e-visit with a doctor. During these e-visits, a doctor listens to what is ailing a patient, and then either diagnoses the patient and makes a recommendation for a prescription or recommends that the patient visit the doctor's office.

Russell explained that John Muir Health is also focused on telemedicine, and with the e-visit capabilities of the healthcare organization's mobile application they come close. However, the functionalities of its application isn't quite there yet.

The real question I think that we're answering with mobile health is going to be the consumerization of healthcare.
Jon RussellSenior Vice President and CIO at John Muir Health

"The functionality that we have in our application gets close to that but there are some things that are not quite the same as actually talking in real time," Russell said. "This is near real-time, not exactly real-time."

Russell said that in addition to focusing on the experience that mobile healthcare services provide to the patient, John Muir Health is also focused on the mobile experience of its nurses and physicians as well.

"We came to realize there was an awful lot of [protected health information] PHI that was flowing in our clinical environment between our nurses and physicians and physician [to] physician that needed to be secure," Russell said.

To solve this problem and to secure PHI while still enabling physicians and nurses to communicate efficiently and effectively, John Muir Health turned to Imprivata's Cortext, a secure communications platform.

"We're very focused on giving access to our clinicians that secure way to communicate," Russell said.

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