Hospitals and healthcare workers can benefit enormously by replacing the myriad of devices carried on shift with a single, consolidated smartphone. A single device serves healthcare professionals with a versatile tool that lets them: streamline communication; manage administrative and clinical tasks; access test results, X-rays, and electronic medical records (EMRs); and supports nurse call and duress functionality. It effectively replaces the multitude of other gadgets that healthcare workers traditionally rely on with one single point of contact.
However, when transitioning to smartphones in a healthcare setting, it’s crucial to consider the following key elements:
- Trial the devices first: Most hospitals require rugged devices that can withstand rigorous cleaning and accidental drops. These devices must be compatible with the hospital’s clinical applications and provide a screen large enough for clear app usage. We strongly recommend a thorough testing phase, including a proof of concept (POC) or a pilot program before full implementation. This approach ensures swift issue resolution based on user and technical feedback, and the insights gained from POCs and pilot programs should be documented for continuous learning.
- Ensure the devices provide the necessary functionality: Hospitals have a wide range of needs, and it’s crucial that devices are tailored to meet these specific requirements. For example, devices that prioritise duress features eliminate the need for a standalone device. The goal is to seamlessly integrate disparate devices—such as radios, mobile phones, and pagers—into a single unit, while incorporating clinical apps into the duress application. This integration enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency responses in healthcare settings by providing pertinent information and communication tools to healthcare professionals and emergency responders precisely when they are most needed.
- Assess the network for adequate coverage: The extensive use of wireless devices for various purposes, from voice and data communication to accessing clinical and non-clinical apps, can strain legacy networks. A reliable Wi-Fi network with minimal dead spots is essential to ensure seamless connectivity.
- Check for system interoperability: Hospitals rely on a multitude of systems that smartphones must seamlessly interoperate with to provide maximum value. This includes duress systems, security systems, fire panels, and crucial clinical systems like EMR. Additionally, smartphones must seamlessly integrate with the healthcare sector’s current and future communications infrastructure environment.
- Choose a strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool: Managing devices without having to physically handle them is a significant productivity benefit and time-saver. An MDM tool lets hospitals set profiles according to different users’ needs and ensure that the devices are locked down as required, regularly updated and patched, and deliver the necessary functionality. An MDM solution delivers flexibility to change things on the fly and accommodate different profiles across a range of roles.
- Safeguard patient data and improve productivity through Single Sign-On: The tedious, manual task of repeatedly entering usernames and passwords to access applications can lead to the loss of hundreds, or even thousands, of hours of productivity annually. Single Sign-On (SSO) for mobile applications addresses this issue by simplifying clinical workflows and affording healthcare professionals additional time to devote to patient care.
- Proactively manage change and user acceptance: To foster user acceptance, letting users test devices before the official rollout yields strong acceptance, and even users unfamiliar with the Android operating system can quickly adapt. Additionally, using analytics to monitor device use and identify underused areas can inform targeted training and support efforts. Educating users through comprehensive training programs, responsive IT support, how-to guides, POC documentation, and on-demand webinars are pivotal to staff empowerment and technology adoption.
- Choose a purpose-built device rather than a consumer device: While consumer-grade smartphones may appear cost-effective, they fall short in a hospital setting. Hospitals need purpose-built devices that excel in infection control, wireless network compatibility, ease of use, and configurability. Durability is paramount, necessitating periodic drop tests to ensure these devices can withstand the demands of the healthcare environment.
Smartphones in action: ACT Health video case study
The transition to smartphones involves various considerations. Explore the remarkable adaptability, durability, versatility, and user-friendliness of the Spectralink Versity. Dive into our video case study and experience the substantial benefits that ACT Health has enjoyed since making the switch to this single device.
Transitioning to consolidated smartphones in healthcare settings demands careful planning and consideration. By embracing purpose-built, durable devices and proactive user management, hospitals can significantly enhance efficiency and deliver better patient care.
The future of digital healthcare hinges on making sense of the vast healthcare data generated by diverse devices and systems. Connected Health propels healthcare organisations through their digital transformation, evolving existing networks into interoperable ecosystems, and updating infrastructure to realise healthcare’s full potential. To explore how Connected Health can transform your digital health journey, reach out to us today.