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Study: Hospital IT Smartphone Investments Are Driving Clinical Transformation

Spyglass Consulting Group released its most recent health care study, Trends in Clinical Communications and Collaboration 2018. The study shows that 90% of hospitals surveyed are making significant enterprisewide investments in smartphones and secure mobile communications platforms to drive clinical transformation and address the mission- and patient-critical communications requirements of clinical and nonclinical mobile workers within the hospital and across the care continuum. 

Hospitals surveyed have identified common communications challenges experienced by mobile clinical workers that include the following:

Communications overload. Clinicians are overwhelmed by the overhead paging system, incoming voice and text communications, and a continuous stream of device alarms which is creating alarm fatigue and leaving them little time for direct patient care.

Lack of standardized processes. Clinicians are resistant to utilizing standardized communications processes and tools especially during transitions which can introduce medical errors into care process. 

Dissatisfaction with existing communications tools. Clinicians are dissatisfied with the antiquated communication options provided by hospital IT including overhead paging, landline phones, pagers, and proprietary VoIP handsets. EHR-based messaging tools are poorly designed and not well integrated with their workflow.  

With the transition toward patient centered care models and value-based purchasing, hospitals surveyed are evaluating next generation communications platforms and upgrading their technical infrastructure to help achieve the Triple AIM framework by reducing health care costs, improving care quality and outcomes, and increasing patient and staff satisfaction.  

Next generation communications platforms are providing the following:

cross platform support enabling clinicians to use a different mobile devices and/or web-based interfaces to support anytime, anywhere communications;

unified communications enabling clinicians to use different communication modalities including Voice over IP, secure text messaging, and video conferencing;

enterprisewide directories integrated with the on-call scheduling system and care assignments database enabling clinicians to connect with team members;

event-driven communications enabling clinicians to receive critical notifications from hospital legacy systems providing actionable content to close the communications loop; and

analytics and reporting tools enabling hospital IT to measure communications tools usage and effectiveness to drive clinical workflow improvements. 

Additional highlights of the Trends in Clinical Communications & Collaboration Report include the following: 

Developed comprehensive mobile strategies.  Seventy-three percent of hospitals surveyed have developed or were developing mobile strategies to address the communications, collaboration, and computing requirements of clinical professionals and other mobile workers across medical departments, standalone hospitals, and ambulatory environments.  

Identified compelling return on investments.  Forty-eight percent of hospitals surveyed have identified or were identifying compelling ROI models to justify mobile investments that provide quantifiable metrics to demonstrate cost reductions, outcome improvements, and staff/patient satisfaction. 

Leveraged middleware to support event-driven notifications.  Sixty-eight percent of hospitals surveyed are using middleware to collect, monitor and manage data, alerts and alarms generated from hospital legacy systems including nurse call, biomedical devices, EHR, pharmacy, and laboratory.   

— Source: Spyglass Consulting Group