Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 15, 2013

More Than Two-Thirds of Nurses Use Their Smartphones at Work

Doctors may have led the medical BYOD revolution, but nurses have followed their examples. According to a report from Spyglass Consulting group, 69 percent of nurses bring their own devices to work.

According to another survey from Absolute Software, half of hospital staff members bring mobile devices to work access e-mail and calendar applications. However, 36 percent use their mobile phones and tablets to access patient information.

The winner, in many cases, is the patient. Nurses often use their devices to access clinical reference materials right at the point of care. They also use devices to coordinate care with other clinicians.

Overall, nurses that exercise their BYOD power report a greater sense of autonomy in the workplace. They are more comfortable using their own devices, they feel a sense of control over computing and they report an improvement in work-life balance.

Many analysts predict that mobile devices will spell the end for overhead paging systems in hospitals. They may also replace nurse call systems that don't quite get the job done. To make the change as smooth as possible, however, hospitals and medical clinics will have to take an attitude of, "If you can't beat 'em, join ’em." Intel has made an interesting video on the subject:

For example, if staff members are demanding BYOD in a hospital, then the hospital's CIO and IT department need to develop a BYOD strategy that protects patient information. The BYOD strategy should be integrated hospital-wide so that staff members have a unified method of communicating with one another.

A BYOD-friendly hospital, for example, would not only be able to use smartphones to page nurses and to coordinate care. They could transmit alerts from different areas of the hospital as well as communicate lab results and radiology reports. Nurses and doctors could also use their own devices to place orders for important medical tests and to access patient records.

In a world where HIPAA violations garner heavy government fines, medical facilities have to be savvy about how staff members are using patient information. No personal mobile device, for example, should store patient records.

Hospitals that embrace BYOD can make the work of doctors and nurses much easier. In the end, happy medical staff translates to better patient care.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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