How mobile and healthcare app access increase patient satisfaction

By Jonathan Crowl

| Healthcare

A group of three doctors and a nurse looking at a healthcare app on a tablet


Every industry has to grapple with the challenges of digital disruption and mobile transformation. But few sectors are faced with the constraints that come with working in healthcare. With so many regulations in place to protect patient privacy and ensure certain standards of care, transformative healthcare technologies must clear a path for innovation that doesn’t trample over the boundaries already in place.

This may have slowed down the pace at which healthcare organizations could implement a healthcare app or other emerging technologies, but these necessary transformations are still taking place. According to a recent global survey from Jamf, mobile device adoption is soaring within the healthcare industry: 90 percent of organizations surveyed said they had implemented or would soon implement a mobile device initiative at their organization.

These devices are being utilized throughout hospital organizations, creating new opportunities for administrative staff up through healthcare providers and on to hospital administrators. These organizations believe that by empowering workers with mobile healthcare tools and easier access to information — including patient records and other data — these organizations can become more efficient and improve their level of patient care.

Mobile device management: Enabling new approaches to patient care

Launching a mobile device initiative on the scale of a hospital or hospital system is a daunting task. Jamf notes that mobile device management (MDM) systems played a critical role in this transformation, enabling the large-scale adoption of devices that make healthcare workers more efficient while improving patient care.

Currently, the degree of device adoption can vary from one healthcare role to the next. According to a Jamf healthcare survey, the highest adoption rate for mobile devices is at nurses’ stations, where 72 percent of organizations surveyed have rolled out mobile devices for this role. Next in line are administrative offices at 63 percent, followed by patient rooms at 56 percent.

Those numbers are expected to increase quickly. Forty-seven percent of organizations surveyed plan to increase the number of mobile devices in their organization over the next two years. Nearly 60 percent of those respondents say that mobile device usage will expand to clinical care teams, giving providers broad access to healthcare app tools such as app-based patient records and other useful medical resources.

Results that make patients happy

Successful adoption of mobile devices can benefit healthcare in several ways. Providers and other workers can become more efficient in providing patient care and performing other job responsibilities, and this efficiency can result in greater productivity and a reduction of expenses. Solutions like app-based medical records can eliminate delays in waiting for important information.

These benefits get passed down to patients in the form of greater satisfaction and an improved patient experience. In fact, 96 percent of healthcare IT decision-makers said that implementing a mobile device initiative produced a positive impact on patient satisfaction. Nearly one-third reported a “significant increase” over past patient experience scores. Those experience scores were higher among public sector healthcare organizations than private healthcare organizations by a 39 to 29 percent margin.

Despite these strong results, non-adopters remain unconvinced that a well-managed mobile device rollout can improve patient satisfaction: Only 16 percent expect positive results from such a move. This disconnect underscores the need for additional research and case studies highlighting the impact of using mobile devices as healthcare tools.

Healthcare app security remains a leading issue

Mobile healthcare innovations have come a long way over a short period of time, but the technology isn’t perfect yet — especially when it comes to security. While the patient experience has been transformed for the better, 95 percent of survey respondents said their MDM systems had room for improvement. Another 31 percent said their current MDM solution made them uncomfortable.

Among these respondents, 54 percent cited data privacy as their leading concern with a healthcare mobile device initiative. Fifty-one percent cited security and compliance issues. And a senior manager for Jamf noted that global cybersecurity attacks on healthcare organizations are currently on the rise, highlighting the importance of continuing to improve MDM security features.

As Tech Republic points out, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service was crippled by a WannaCry ransomware attack last year, which brought down computer systems at more than 50 hospitals in England and Scotland. In some cases, IT services at these facilities were down for weeks, necessitating a full overhaul of their cybersecurity front that cost the UK tens of millions of pounds.

As MDM solutions take on a larger role in providing high-quality patient care, advancements in MDM security must follow suit. It’s clear from the Jamf report that healthcare organizations love the positive impact mobile devices can make on their patient experience. But to continue reaping these benefits, MDM systems must be able to reliably protect patient data, combat cyber threats and adapt as these threats evolve over time.