Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

Why Healthcare BYOD Could Benefit Facilities

By Elizabeth Snell

- Even if a facility does not yet have a healthcare BYOD policy in place, it is becoming more difficult to ignore the fact that mobile devices are increasing in popularity. Healthcare organizations of all sizes could potentially benefit from the ability to access patient information through a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

More healthcare facilities are using mobile devices, according to a recent HIMSS Analytics survey, although desktop computers are still a popular way to access information.

The “2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study” found that 28 percent of US hospitals use smartphones at their organization. Specifically, an average of 169 devices are deployed per hospital.

A total of 139 clinicians were interviewed, in conjunction with data from the September edition of the HIMSS Analytics Database.

As previously mentioned, desktop computers are still in use, with approximately two-thirds of those surveyed saying they use a desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone/tablet computer to access information.

“These findings suggest that there are several key areas that must be addressed in order to enhance the use of smartphones/tablet computers in US healthcare organizations,” HIMSS stated in an executive report summary. “Clinicians and IT professionals alike must be assured that devices will provide clinicians with secure access to patient information.”

The report also suggested that there is room for growth in how healthcare facilities use mobile devices. One-third of clinicians stated that using smartphones or tablet computers would create overall efficiencies in care, including eliminating redundancies in care. Moreover, one-third of respondents said using mobile devices could have a positive impact on overall quality of care and care coordination.

The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents said that they used apps to access clinical information. However, 33 percent of those surveyed explained they can access most or all of the clinical systems technologies they need via smartphones/tablet computers.

These are just some of the potential barriers in place that could potentially impact any BYOD strategies. For example, clinicians in the study said that one of the top reasons they do not use smartphones and/or tablet computers is because their infrastructure does not support use of these devices. To help mitigate this, healthcare organizations need to evaluate their policies to ensure that they are not overly restrictive, according to the study’s executive summary.

“As smartphones and tablet computers are relatively new tools to healthcare organizations, it is necessary to establish a baseline understanding of the presence and impact these technologies have in U.S. hospitals,” the report stated. “By doing so, the market will have a better way to adjudicate the potential these tools have for U.S. healthcare providers and relevant vendors.”

Similar findings were also reported in a recent Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs report. New technologies are likely to have a significant impact on healthcare organiations over the next few years, the study found. Specifically, health IT is where providers most expect their practice or organization to increase its investment over the next five years, according to the report’s executive summary.

Providers are most likely to offer their patients mobile applications that enable appointment scheduling, access to medical records and secure messaging, according to the study results.  

“Improvements in and expansion of technology provide countless opportunities to enhance care, communication, and collaboration between patients and providers,” the report stated. “That, in turn, can foster prevention, reduce costs, and improve overall healthcare.”

 

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