Hospitals embrace mobile strategy for devices thanks to doctor demand

By Jonathan Crowl

After some years of resistance from the healthcare industry, mobile device strategies are being formally adopted by hospitals, with almost two-thirds of such organizations implementing such a mobile strategy. The survey, which was conducted by Spok, indicated that such changes were driven by doctors and nurses who wanted mobile devices in the workplace, instead of being pushed forward by hospital leadership.

Overall, the hospital industry has seen steady growth in terms of formalizing policies that govern the use of mobile devices. In 2012, only 34 percent of the same organizations had a documented mobile strategy in place. Now, 39 percent of organizations have had such a strategy in place for at least three years, according to Spok.

Such policies are necessary to regulate the use of devices in a medical environment, where personal devices are common. As policies have been developed, Spok reported that doctors have increasingly become more involved in the processes that refine and amend these mobile device policies, covering issues related to both personal use and healthcare applications for various mobile technologies.

The participation of these doctors, as well as other hospital staff, helps ensure policies are practical and address real-world problems in the workplace.

The top concern when creating such a mobile strategy is that policies preserve adherence to patient protection regulations. The most notable of these is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which any mobile device activity must account for. However, hospitals are eager to apply mobile technology in ways that improve workflows, create new efficiencies in the workplace and improve communication.

Where personal devices are used, most hospitals have turned to the use of mobile device management software, which can partition information and ensure the security and protection of sensitive information.

There are still challenges to overcome, such as choosing which mobile device management solution is installed on a physician’s phone when that person works for more than one organization, but whatever obstacles remain, hospitals are more than willing to solve those issues instead of trying to ignore them.