Reference: Municipality of Aarhus

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Project Type:Fast deployment and upgrade of mobile devices with Afaria
Client:Municipality of Aarhus
Release Date:13.03.2011
Keywords:Mobility, Afaria, Device Management

Introducing Mobility to Healthcare

After investing in a mobile home nursing solution, the Municipality of Aarhus in Denmark quickly recognized they needed a central mobile device management solution to allow for control of the mobile application from a central location. Aided by Conscia Mobility Architects, the Municipality of Aarhus deployed Afaria from Sybase. The result has been a reduction in IT costs, an improvement in nursing efficiency and most importantly, the delivery of better patient care.


In 2006, the Danish government initiated a program to develop and increase the use of mobility and its effectiveness in healthcare. The government’s objective was to use technology to optimize the work environment for nurses helping patients in their homes. It recognized that the use of technology could result in better work conditions for homecare nurses, and lead to more effective and better quality of patient care. The Municipality of Aarhus in Denmark has been part of this program since its inception and invested in a mobile solution that enables homecare nurses to access route planning, patient information and allows the nurses to log activity directly on their mobile device. “In the past, homecare nurses would check into an office to get the daily route planning and keys to the patients — today they just need to check into their PDA,” stated Stefan Nicolaisen, IT Consultant, The Municipality of Aarhus.


Selecting a Solution to Address the Pain Points

Soon after deployment, the Municipality of Aarhus found a challenge keeping the data on the mobile devices updated and secure. It was also challenged to support the nurses when they encountered technical issues with the devices or the application in the field. Aarhus did not have any resources in its IT department to handle the management and administration of the mobile devices and the applications on the devices following the initial deployment. The Municipality quickly determined that it needed a central device management solution in order to effectively continue with their mobile initiative. “The solution we selected must support work routines — we need to spend time with the patients, and nothing but that,” commented Nicolaisen. To assist in its search for a solution, Aarhus turned to Danish mobility specialist, Conscia Mobility Architects, which has more than ten years of experience with mobility. The experts at Conscia Mobility Architects recommended Afaria mobile device and security management software from Sybase to manage the mobile devices of the 1,900 homecare nurses employed by the Municipality of Aarhus.

With the support of Sybase and Conscia Mobility Architects, the Municipality of Aarhus installed Afaria and quickly set out to deploy the solution to the field. During the deployment of Afaria, some users also had their mobile devices upgraded. Historically, this process would have taken several weeks and the IT department would have needed to physically update each device. With the automatic software update capabilities in Afaria, the municipality was able to update and upgrade all 1,900 devices within 12 hours. The Afaria system automatically checks which software version is active on each device and subsequently performs a software update if required.


Saving Time and Improving Patient Care

Afaria makes it easy to keep control of the mobile devices, implement software updates and save time on device administration. Software upgrades are easy to install and the security of the data on the device is ensured. Afaria’s capabilities allow the IT department to manage all programs on the device so that end users do not have to worry about mixing personal applications with confidential patient information. This allows a nurse to access personal applications, like Facebook, without jeopardizing the healthcare application or the patient information on the device. If the user accidentally changes the device’s settings, the IT department can simply reset the device to the proper specifications without ever losing data in the process.

In short, Afaria saves the IT department at the Municipality of Aarhus hours of work and eliminates the need for them to spend time in the field troubleshooting mobile devices. “In our experience, Afaria has addressed and exceeded all of our mobile device management challenges,” states Nicolaisen. For the nurses, the mobile solution gives access to necessary patient information in real-time, so they can provide better patient care. Supporting nurses with technology has improved work quality and employee satisfaction as they now have a more efficient way to perform the administrative tasks in their jobs, enabling them to focus more time on patients.


The Sky is the Limit

Since the adoption of Afaria, it seems the sky is the limit in terms of adopting innovative technology. The next step is for the Municipality of Aarhus to implement a Bluetooth door lock solution. This will allow homecare nurses to simply go to a patient’s home, type in a pin on the PDA, which automatically unlocks the front door to the patient’s home. Because the codes are encrypted, the chief nurse can centrally administer which homecare nurses have access to certain patients. By using Afaria, deployment of the solution will be easy to install, manage and keep updated.