Almost half of clinicians collect data at bedside via mobiles

By Brian Dolan
02:10 am

physician ipadResults from two surveys focused on healthcare provider adoption of mobile technologies published this week from HIMSS Analytics and Spyglass Consulting Group. While both point to substantial growth in adoption, Spyglass' survey points to IT support issues arising from the well-documented Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

Over the course of four months starting in May 2011, Spyglass Consulting conducted in-depth interviews with more than 100 nurses working in acute care environments in the US to determine smartphone adoption and usage among the group. About 69 percent of the hospitals interviewed for the survey had nursing staff using smartphones on the job that the facility's IT department were not willing to support on the hospital's network. Spyglass said the communications device provided to nurses by IT were often found to be difficult to use and of limited functionality.

“Hospital IT is concerned that personal devices on the hospital’s network pose a significant security threat to patient health information stored on the device or the network,” Gregg Malkary, Managing Director of Spyglass Consulting Group, said in a statement. “Supporting nursing ‘Bring Your Own Device’ initiatives would require hospital IT to define comprehensive mobile governance strategies and to deploy enterprise-class tools to centrally monitor, manage and protect mobile devices, apps and data.”

It was almost unanimously agreed among those nurses surveyed that first generation Tablet PCs were not the right device to support bedside nursing, and, according to the group, Apple's iPad won't succeed either despite its current popularity. Nurses cite durability, infection control, limited data entry, and lack of native applications as the reasons for iPads not making it longterm. Tablets aside: About 25 percent of the nurses were dissatisfied with the quality and reliability of their hospital's wireless network.

The second annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, sponsored by Qualcomm Life paints a rosier picture. The survey of about 180 IT professionals working at healthcare facilities found that half of them believe the use of mobile technology would substantially impact patient deliver. An additional 16 percent said it would dramatically change the future of healthcare delivery. Most believed pharmacy management, i.e. medication reminders, and remote monitoring would see the biggest benefits from mobile.

The survey found that clinicians are using their mobiles in care settings more and more. About 45 percent of respondents said clinicians collected data at the bedside on their mobiles, up from 30 percent last year. Bar code readers on mobile jumped from 23 percent last year to 38 percent. Monitoring data from medical devices notched up to 34 percent from 27 percent year-over-year. Using the camera on the phone to capture patient data more than doubled from 13 percent last year to some 27 percent today. About 25 percent said all data captured on mobiles is integrated with an EHR.

Few of those surveyed said their facilities had developed apps intended for use by patients -- only 13 percent. About half of survey respondents said clinician adoption of apps is high and is likely to increase over the next year. About 5 percent of those surveyed offer some kind of app marketplace and about 11 percent are considering it.

Finally, the survey found that the biggest challenges facing an IT department's mobile strategy today are funding and security of patient data.


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