- From smartphones, tablets, and mobile health apps to telemedicine and remote monitoring tools, the advancement of healthcare technologies has stimulated the entire industry to improve population health outcomes and the quality of patient care. The smartphone, in particular, is making headway in the healthcare industry with the majority of nurses owning and utilizing the device in a medical setting.
A survey released by market intelligence firm InCrowd shows that 95 percent of nurses own a smartphone while 88 percent use the gadget including mobile health apps at their workplace.
A total of 73 percent of polled nurses use smartphones to access clinical data particularly information on drug interactions. Also, 72 percent of survey takers use mobile health apps to learn about medical conditions and disorders.
When it comes to communicating with other staff at a medical facility, 69 percent of polled nurses stated using smartphones to speak with colleagues at their hospital. In general, smartphones and mobile health apps can be used for a wide variety of healthcare workflow processes ranging from viewing photos of patient symptoms to setting reminders for medication administration.
Out of a section of the survey takers, 52 percent stated using their smartphone to answer a question instead of speaking with a nursing colleague. Clearly, the expansion of mobile health technology is making an impact on clinical decisions in the healthcare industry. Even though the majority of nurses in the survey were not reimbursed for the costs of using their smartphone, this did not bar them from incorporating the gadget in their everyday workflow.
"As a former nurse I know the daily distractions that can take a nurse away from patients – and how freeing technology can be if we let it," Janet Kosloff, CEO and co-founder of InCrowd, said in a company press release. "InCrowd uses mobile technology to query respondents, potentially inflating these percentages since one could argue that mobile phone users are more apt to answer our surveys. However, with such significantly higher percentages of use than other studies, and numerous write-in responses detailing nurses' enthusiasm for specific apps and why, our results show that nurses are actively using smartphones to free themselves for what is ultimately better patient care."
Smartphones, laptops, and other mobile health technologies are also making telemedicine a reality in the healthcare field. Through the partnerships between Walgreens, the UnitedHealth Group, and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem, more consumers than ever before may have access to telehealth services, according to the Associated Press.
The American Telemedicine Association predicted that, in 2015, as many as 450,000 patients will participate in a virtual visit instead of seeing their doctor in a physical location. Drug stores and large retailers are offering patients more affordable healthcare options by establishing Internet-based doctor visits.
Whether it’s through the increased use of smartphones among healthcare staff or the expansion of telemedicine throughout the consumer landscape, the healthcare industry is evolving quickly as new technologies continue to impact the field.