Study: Smartphone, tablet use on the rise in hospitals

More than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and or tablets and 69 percent of clinicians are using both a desktop/laptop and a smartphone/tablet to access data, according to the 2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study.

One third of respondents polled believe smartphones and tablets will drive overall efficiency in care by eliminating redundancies and view mHealth devices as having a positive impact on care quality and coordination. Yet only 33 percent of clinicians believe they can access most or all of needed clinical systems technologies using devices.

However, the study also reveals increasing use of smartphones and tablets, both in terms of hospitals and devices in play. On average 169 smartphones are deployed per hospital and 37 tablets are in use per hospital.

"It's one thing to state that mobile technology is cool; it's another to determine what value it brings to the healthcare equation," David Collins, senior director at Health Information Systems for HIMSS North America, said in an announcement. "This survey was created to discuss how smartphones and tablet computers are being used to create care efficiencies and optimize clinical time." 

One example of care efficiency is how a stroke neurologist in a metropolitan area is able to diagnose a patient--often at a rural site--using a smart device, Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at HIMSS Analytics, told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email.
"Clinicians currently using this technology also offered numerous suggestions about how the next generation of smartphones and tablet computers could better help them support patient care," she said. "A few examples include improved access to clinical information housed in EHR and other sources, ability of smartphones and tablet computers to enhance clinician workflow and improved tools for interacting with patients."

The news comes as providers, payers and patients are embracing mobile tech to drive improved care, save money and time and speed up treatment and diagnosis. Connected devices and machine-to-machine technology, as well as mobile network advancements and emergence of low-cost smartphones, will spur mobile healthcare market growth, according to Visiongain's latest market forecast. Nearly half of American adults, 48 percent, are extremely interested in using smartphone and tablets for checking blood pressure, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported. 

The HIMSS study notes participants cited a long list of benefits from mHealth tech.

"Clinicians reported smartphones/tablet computers greatly enhance their ability to communicate with other clinicians and healthcare providers," the study's authors write.

Yet the authors also say there is opportunity for improvement as respondents indicated they were unsure what impact use of smartphones/tablet computers would have on the delivery of healthcare.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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