While 69 percent of clinicians use mobile apps to access clinical information, only 33 percent believe they can access most or all of the clinical systems technologies they need via smartphones and tablet computers.

That is the finding of a just-released 2014 Mobile Devices Study by HIMSS Analytics. Based on a survey of 139 clinicians and data from the HIMSS Analytics Database, the study concludes that smartphones and tablets have the potential to transform the way in which clinician’s access patient information. However, there are several key areas that must be addressed to enhance the use of these mobile devices by healthcare organizations.

“Clinicians and IT professionals alike must be assured that devices will provide clinicians with secure access to patient information,” states the report. “Additionally, technological challenges must be overcome. Clinicians have indicated that one of the top reasons they do not use smartphones and/or tablet computers is because their infrastructure does not support use of these devices. Finally, healthcare organizations need to evaluate their policies to ensure that they are not overly restrictive.”

At the same time, many surveyed clinicians are optimistic that the use of smartphones and tablets will positively impact the delivery of patient care. One-third of survey respondents indicated that use of these mobile devices would create overall efficiencies in care, such as eliminating redundancies in care. In addition, one-third believe that use of these devices could have a positive impact on overall quality of care and care coordination.

“However, here too, there is room for growth, as a large portion of the respondents indicated that they were presently unsure as to the impact that the use of smartphones/tablet computers could have on the delivery of healthcare,” according to the report.

Nonetheless, clinicians in the survey revealed that smartphones and tablets greatly enhance their ability to communicate with other clinicians and providers. They also indicated that the use of these devices is providing them with a more positive work experience, both in terms of satisfaction with their jobs and work/life balance.

According to the HIMSS Analytics Database, approximately one-quarter of U.S. hospitals (28 percent) reported that smartphones are in use at their respective organizations and on average 169 devices are deployed per hospital. In comparison, 24 percent of hospitals reported that tablet computers are in use at their organization, with an average of 37 devices deployed per hospital. And, according to the 2014 Mobile Devices Study, two-thirds of clinicians (68 percent) use both a desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone/tablet to access information.

 

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