HIMSS Study Looks at Mobility Adoption in Healthcare

Last month, Chicago was flooded with healthcare providers, vendors and suppliers, all congregating to discuss recent trends in the industry and advanced technology solutions to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and provide a higher level of care to patients. More than ever before, healthcare providers are recognizing the potential of mobile computing to transform the patient care ecosystem. From patient portals to telehealth services to remote patient monitoring, mobile technology continues to garner interest from providers as patient engagement and overall satisfaction rates become more pressing concerns.

Despite the industry’s lofty goals, healthcare mobility implementations are still falling short of expectations, the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey finds. One of the main takeaways from the study was an incongruence between what IT leaders want for their healthcare organization, and the way their mobility solutions are actually being implemented. For instance, while nearly 90 percent of respondents reported that they maintain mobile devices to engage patients at their organizations, many signaled that their current mobile devices aren’t allowing them to effectively engage patients as much as they’d hoped. Additionally, almost 50 percent of respondents indicated that implementation of mobile services for access to information is a high priority at their organization, but less than 20 percent indicated their mobile technology environment was highly mature.

So what’s holding back IT leaders from wider adoption of advanced mobility solutions? Lack of funding continues to be a top barrier, with over half of respondents identifying it as the key obstacle. While cost is always going to be an important factor to consider, mobile computing solutions in healthcare environments should be viewed as an investment rather than a sunk cost. Additionally, healthcare organizations are currently dependent on application functionality, but with the free text documentation requirements, there is certainly a need for reliable, ruggedized devices.

When healthcare organizations invest in durable, reliable mobile computing technology they unlock the potential to improve the quality of care provided. The HIMSS report found that more than half of respondents reported that their organization was able to leverage technology to coordinate or impact patient care in at least one of the areas provided in the study. The study suggested the greatest areas of impact emanate from telehealth interventions, including the use of remote ICUs, teleradiology services, and the ability to coordinate care across the care continuum, which includes the use of remote patient monitoring tools.

How do we reduce the discord between aspiration and execution in mobile implementation? First and foremost is to change the perception of mobile computing in healthcare: from simply a documentation tool to technology that allows for cost efficiency and an improved patient care experience. As deadlines for coding regulations from ICD-10 and cost efficiency guidelines from HIPPA continue to draw closer, we anticipate that healthcare providers will realize more and more that the technology that can help them provide a more comprehensive care environment is always within arm’s reach.

Visit HIMSS.org to download the complete HIMSS report and corresponding infographic. And visit our web site to learn more about Panasonic’s durable solutions for a successful mobile strategy in healthcare.