Putting patients first and transforming the care experience
Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is Canada’s largest fully-integrated health system with over 102,000 employees serving 4.4 million people. There are 850 facilities within the system and an extensive network of community-based services for improving the health of Albertans.
Regardless of on-site or in-community care, AHS maintains a culture and care philosophy that promotes not only the health of patients, but also the patient care experience. To maintain that culture and care philosophy, AHS leverages technology as the conduit for delivering better healthcare.
From patient experience to pandemic response initiative, the AHS patient-first philosophy with the power of Jamf transformed the way patients and families communicate and receive care from providers.
Technology and the patient experience
AHS set out to find a modern in-room television replacement that focused on the patient experience and their privacy. The focus required a comprehensive ecosystem of hardware, apps, networks and a mobile device management solution (MDM).
After conducting a thorough search, an iPad at each patient’s bedside was deemed as the best alternative to their outdated system, as iPad is able to keep patients connected to entertainment resources. With Apple selected, the next step was to identify the MDM that maximized the iPad experience for each user, while also empowering AHS IT staff to digitally sterilize each device once a patient was discharged to ensure utmost patient privacy and data protection.
While AHS already had an MDM solution in place, it was unable to adequately address the specific needs of a 500 bedside iPad deployment or digitally sterilize the devices.
Not wanting to put a massive and manual burden on its staff, AHS looked elsewhere. Being at the forefront of the Apple device in the healthcare movement, AHS selected Jamf for their proof-of-concept based on the unique workflow-specific solution called Jamf Reset. While Jamf Pro was leveraged to deploy, configure and manage the iPad devices. Once the patient was discharged, Jamf Reset — an iOS/iPadOS app in Jamf Pro — goes to work to digitally sterilize the device and ready it for the next user. Most importantly, this is executed wirelessly and on-demand without needing IT support.
While the AHS in-patient workflow was now live in select pilot units, no one had yet imagined how it could be re-purposed to address new challenges when COVID-19 shook the world.
A new world of telehealth
In a matter of days at the onset of the pandemic, family visitations were halted and visitor restrictions were set in place. These critical moments — when a patient can open their eyes and see their family member, or at worst hold a loved one's hand during their final breaths — were stripped away.
But as we’ve seen across the globe and across industries, this disruption provided opportunities to respond and to advance what was possible. With a physical separation in place within healthcare, could there be a way that technology could bridge the gap? Could virtual visitations be facilitated for patients and loved ones to provide the needed connections at these pivotal moments in life?
The new goals of leveraging the bedside iPad devices, managed by Jamf sought to:
Reduce personal protection equipment (PPE) consumption
Limit in-person interaction to protect patients and staff
Connect to family care/stakeholders and limit social isolation
- Launch virtual visits easily — no logins or passwords required
Because iPad was already the bedside device, the intuitive and user-friendly Apple experience was already in their corner.
And Jamf had, at the beginning of this transition to telehealth, put its sights on expanding the role of technology in healthcare’s response to the pandemic.
Virtual Visits powered by Jamf offered a new workflow to configure and deploy third-party conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to Apple devices in patient rooms for providers to quickly, easily and virtually make their rounds, and for patients to securely connect with loved ones who were not allowed to or unable to visit. AHS added Virtual Visits to its proof of concept and continued leveraging Jamf Pro and Jamf Reset to wipe, reset and ready a device for the next patient.
AHS added Virtual Visits to its proof of concept and continued leveraging Jamf Pro and Jamf Reset to wipe, reset and ready a device for the next patient.
Virtual Visits was configured for AHS two days after Jamf’s initial proposal, and four days later, the solutions had been tested and implemented across the 500 iPad devices. Since the rollout of Virtual Visits, there have been more than 10,000 Virtual Visits launched and 100,000 minutes of virtual communication at AHS.
Shortly after the solution was rolled out to the patient bedside devices, a long-term AHS patient was able to FaceTime with their father who had fallen ill at home. Although the patient could not be with their father on the other side of the country, the iPad allowed them to connect one final time for a virtual goodbye.
This incredible example of the versatility of technology and IT shines a light on the patient-first philosophy that is behind the AHS mission. While the project started with a focus on one set of patient needs, it adapted to address new problems brought by the pandemic. While visitor policies will normalize, the power of this iPad configuration will continue to empower patients. And this work continues as iPad devices are deployed to additional AHS care facilities across the province.
The innovations that have been made because of the acute needs of COVID aren’t regressing.
Technology at AHS is not only transforming and advancing patient care, it is supporting the patient and patient experience holistically. AHS can’t stop the inevitability of saying goodbyes, but they can support people in those moments.