Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

Doctors Unsure of Accessing Data on Personal Devices

By Ryan Mcaskill

A new study found that 96 percent of doctors have smartphones, but only 10 percent feel comfortable accessing EHR on them.

One of the major topics to mobile devices in the business is the merits of bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Essentially, this is a policy where workers are allowed to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work tasks.

- The benefits to this is that it gets the latest technology in the door, without the company needing to invest in the hardware. It also eliminates the learning curve, as employees are already familiar with their devices. The downside to this, is that personal devices are personal and can not be 100 percent safe guarded. If an employ downloads a virus on their own time, it is also on the work device. It also opens up the possibility of other security issues if a personal device that can access company information is ever lost or stolen.

While every company should have a policy in place to manage BYOD, the fact remains that that does not always happen. It is not uncommon to see employees using their smartphones or tablets for work, without an official policy in place from employers. This miscommunication between company executives, IT departments and employees hurts the potential of these devices.

This happens in the healthcare world as well. Recently, Spyglass Consulting Group, performed more than 100 in-depth interviews with physicians working in hospital-based and ambulatory environments. It was discovered that 96 percent of doctors have smartphones, but only 10 percent are actually willing to use it to access electronic health records.

“Physician Smartphone adoption is nearly universal with 96 percent of physicians interviewed using Smartphones as their primary device to support clinical communications,” said Gregg Malkary, Managing Director of Spyglass Consulting Group. “Smartphones are preferred because they are easier to use and provide more enhanced functionality than outdated communication options provided by hospital IT including pagers, overhead paging systems, landline phones and fax machines.”

The study also found that only 33 percent of these doctors has been offered any kind of tech support when trying to use their mobile devices to access electronic records.

“Efficient communications and collaboration between physicians, specialists, nurses and care team members is critical to enhance patient safety, and support the coordination and delivery of patient care across health settings," said Malkary.

It is important for hospital IT departments to evaluate the use of mobile devices and other tech solutions to support coordinated care efforts and changing delivery models that are introduced by the Affordable Care Act. With the capabilities of technology growing, policies like BYOD are going to need to be evaluated and managed properly to ensure they are efficient and do not become detrimental to the provider and patients.

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