Hospitals Boost Mobile Strategy to Enhance Patient Care
According to a recent Spok survey, 65 percent of hospitals now have a documented mobile strategy, up by nearly double from 34 percent in 2012. Of the hospitals that have officially adopted mobile, 21 percent have launched mobile policies within the past year.
Almost half of health care professionals who responded consider mobile to be a hospital communications initiative. Meanwhile, 24 percent consider it a technology initiative, and another 24 percent consider it a clinical initiative.
Security concerns also drive mobility policy development, as hospital IT teams attempt to secure patient health information and maintain HIPAA compliance within a fast-growing employee mobile device ecosystem. What’s missing, though, is the ability to see mobile technology as a driver for strategic initiatives rather than a necessary evil to be dealt with.
Tackling Hospital Initiatives With Mobile Strategy
Although health care professionals can name their hospital’s strategic goals, they don’t always recognize how mobility can support those initiatives. For example, 53 percent of health care professionals told Spok that improving physician-to-physician communication is a hospital goal, but only 19 percent cite it as an objective of their mobility plans.
Greg Kuhnen, senior director of research at the Advisory Board Co., told CIO that for hospitals to not fall behind in an increasingly mobile landscape, “they need to look at the productive uses of mobile technology — how the technology can make their workflows more efficient and improve user satisfaction.”
Right now, health care professionals primarily use mobile devices for medical reference and to track rounds activities and routine patient care tasks. Some electronic health record vendors have created mobile versions of their desktop solutions. However, they’ve only created lighter versions of desktop tools instead of seeing mobile as a complement to existing systems.
Promising New Technologies
Mobile could evolve into a more efficient data-capture platform as voice recognition and natural-language processing become more available and more mature — right now, tapping on a tablet while patients talk isn’t the best way to record what they’re saying. The future of mobile health care will also include Internet of Things devices and voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Hospital IT teams will need to incorporate these devices into their comprehensive mobile strategies to succeed.
Mobile data is fueling cognitive computing within hospital settings by capturing patient data for analysis and prescriptive modeling. According to the Boston Globe, IBM’s Watson already provides cognitive computing support that helps hospitals make diagnoses, interpret imaging studies, monitor health in groups of patients and match patients with available clinical trials.
One of the best ways to unleash mobility in support of strategic initiatives is to involve doctors, nurses and medical leaders. With their insights into mobile workflows, IT can design mobile solutions that truly deliver for doctors, nurses and patients at the point of care.