Mobile technology use by docs on the rise

Surveys find increasing dependence on mobile technology, including nurses using personal smartphones
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Clinicians are rapidly adopting mobile health technology into patient care, according to a new survey unveiled this week at the mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. 

Among findings of the 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, clinicians using mobile technology to collect data at the bedside rose to 45 percent, up from 30 percent last year. Additionally, clinicians using mobile technology to monitor medical-device data increased to 34 percent from 27 percent. Those using bar code readers on mobile devices rose to 38 percent from 23 percent.

Other findings included:

  • Professionals using mobile devices to capture visual representations of patient data increased to 27 percent from 13 percent.
  • Providers allowing patients to access medical information on a mobile device rose to 36 percent from 32 percent, although only 13 percent had developed a specific app for patient use and only 5 percent had created an app marketplace.
  • Respondents said mobile technology was most likely to benefit patient care in pharmacy management of facilitating care across the healthcare continuum.
  • One-fourth said all data captured by mobile devices is integrated directly into their organization's electronic health record.
  • Half of clinicians responding said they will use more mobile medical apps in the next year.
  • Three-quarters of organizations surveyed said they will use more mobile devices in the future, especially tablet computers.

Primary challenges included inadequate funding for procuring mobile devices and the security of patient data accessed on mobile devices.

Meanwhile, a separate survey by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Spyglass Consulting Group found that nurses are using personal smartphones on the job, particularly to fill "critical communication gaps" with hospital-provided information technology. The survey highlighted major issues for hospital IT staff, who worried about a "significant security threat" to patient health information, Gregg Malkary, Spyglass's managing director, said in a statement.

Among the hospitals responding to the survey, 69 percent said nurses were using their personal smartphones on the job, including for clinical communications.

"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," Malkary said.

The Spyglass survey also found that first-generation tablet computers were "not the right device to support bedside nursing," with specific issues for the Apple iPad's durability, infection control, limited data entry and lack of native applications. Nurses also were dissatisfied with the quality and reliability of their facilities' wireless networks.

 To learn more:
- here's the HIMSS Analytics survey (membership required)
- read the HIMSS announcement
- check out the Spyglass announcement

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