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Five considerations for clinical communications

November 15, 2019
Health IT
From the November 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Bill Foster

Growth in the use of mobile phones, PDAs, tablets, and apps in healthcare is being driven by the need for higher quality, responsive care, greater team collaboration, communication, and workflow efficiency. However, it is critical to get the right mobile devices in place in order to maximize these benefits. How can healthcare technologists and hospitals be sure the mobile solution they deploy will deliver the expected results? Following are seven questions to ask.

1. Is the solution designed for healthcare?

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Generic or consumer-grade mobile phones are not designed to address the depth and breadth of the daily realities caregivers experience in the workplace and can put clinicians at a disadvantage in meeting productivity and patient-centered care goals. The BYOD movement raises important concerns about security, performance shortcomings, durability, and battery life/degradation with consumer devices.

Statistics show the use of enterprise-grade, versus consumer-grade, mobile devices in healthcare settings can increase caregiver productivity by three times during an average clinician shift.

Important considerations for enterprise mobility devices include:
• Lightweight and easy to carry, yet durable and able to withstand hospital cleaners
• Provide up to 12-hour battery life to support a full shift
• Hot-swappable battery capabilities to eliminate downtime
• Crystal-clear voice to avoid miscommunication

Beyond devices, an enterprise mobility solution must integrate with existing systems and platforms, creating a unified experience.

2. How will it help caregivers do their jobs better? Can they easily incorporate it into their daily workflows?
Mobile solutions need to provide ready integration with existing hospital communication systems, including EHR platforms, as well as clinical and custom apps that support and enhance workflows. Purpose-built mobile devices and workflow-aligned tools such as integrated barcode scanners can further enhance productivity by automating data entry and time-consuming tasks, like medication administration, while reducing errors and streamlining patient care. Initial go-live and ongoing training for clinicians on how the mobile solution will support their specific workflows is also an important consideration.

3. Will it meet my needs today and tomorrow?
Evolving patient care needs, compliance requirements, clinician expectations, and technological advancements are just a few factors continuously reshaping clinical mobility requirements. Technology needs to be flexible to easily and cost-effectively adapt today and in the future.

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