Better Support for Hospital Mobile Devices Required

Smartphone use in hospitals is now commonplace, and according to a recent survey conducted by Spyglass Consulting on the use of hospital mobile devices, it has been estimated that 96% of physicians now use Smartphones, yet only a tenth of them are prepared to use their own devices in a healthcare setting. There is a lack of trust between IT departments and physicians, and a perceived lack of support for hospital mobile devices.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) schemes are becoming popular, as they allow hospitals to benefit from t0he advantages that the portable devices offer, without having to cover the cost of supplying devices to their employees. However, in many hospitals there is a lack of infrastructure and support which makes implementing BYOD schemes troublesome, and many of the obstacles negate many of the benefits that can be gained from the use of mobile technology.

One of the biggest bugbears of physicians is slow EHR systems with poor navigation controls that frequently crash. Healthcare providers that have signed up to the Meaningful Use initiative have had to invest heavily in hardware and software to ensure that their EHR systems can operate smoothly. Healthcare providers that are not part of the Meaningful Use program will not have faced so much pressure to get their computer systems operating efficiently, and consequently these healthcare providers are now struggling with outdated and cumbersome systems and chronic underinvestment in IT and mobile technologies.

Healthcare Providers Are Not Providing Adequate Support for Hospital Mobile Devices

The survey asked a sample of 100 doctors their views on hospital mobile devices, EHRs and data security. Each of the doctors consulted for the study was familiar with the current healthcare and mobile device technology environment. Out of the doctors polled for the survey, 70% believed that there was inadequate investment in mobile technology being made and one of the major problem areas was a lack of support for Smartphones in hospitals. The majority of respondents reported that they are frustrated with the health IT infrastructure put in place by their employers.

According to Gregg Malkary, Managing Director of Spyglass, “[healthcare providers have] given you desktop virtualization tools, they’ve now recognized that SMS is in widespread use, so they’ve implemented secure messaging” he went on to say that “they’ve implemented mobile device management, so they have an increasing list of checklists they’ve done, but all they’ve done is they’ve alienated the clinical staff.”

Unfortunately there are also frequently issues between physicians and IT staff, mainly caused by poor IT security policies and a lack of investment in the right technology. Doctors do not trust the IT staff, so are loathed to use their own devices for work purposes.

There are many advantages to be had from using Smartphones in hospitals. They can improve communication between care teams, allow PHI to be obtained quickly, and most healthcare professionals are comfortable with using the devices.

However, in order to get the full benefits from mobile technology, healthcare providers must adopt a new approach and provide the necessary support services that physicians need. Doctors also need to be compensated for the additional time they are required to spend using data systems, and Malkary also believes that the entire infrastructure should be changed in many hospitals and to have mobile technology incorporated into the core modality for accessing PHI and other healthcare data.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of