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Hospitals Making Progress in mHealth Strategies, Survey Finds

June 13, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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For the third consecutive year in Spok’s mobile healthcare survey, more than half of respondents reported having a mobile strategy in place.

It’s the eighth consecutive survey of this ilk from the Springfield, Va.-based Spok, in which researchers explored various facets of healthcare delivery when it comes to how hospitals support their care teams with communication technology. Respondents included more than 300 healthcare professionals—44 percent of whom were clinicians—from hospitals and health systems around the country.

For those organizations with a mobile strategy, there is a strong continuous improvement feedback loop between policy owners and clinical teams when it comes to keeping mobile policies current, the research found. The most popular reason for updating a policy was to better meet the needs of end users (39 percent), followed by addressing changes in clinical workflows (28 percent).

For the seventh straight year, smartphones are the most commonly used communication tool, in use at 74 percent of the facilities. Wi-Fi phones (69 percent), onsite pagers (56 percent), tablets (54 percent), and wide-area pagers (45 percent) are also popular.

What’s more, although there was a 19 percent year-over-year increase in security team involvement for policy enforcement, the results indicate room for improvement when it comes to overall adherence to these strategies: Only 39 percent indicated policies are enforced extremely well and consistently, meaning these healthcare organizations may be vulnerable to security issues.

Also, for 2018 there was a decrease in the number of organizations using secure texting; only 41 percent indicated having a solution in place (representing a four-year low). Because of this, it is not surprising that 32 percent said implementing this collaboration solution represents their biggest opportunity for improving mobile communications in the next three to five years, the researchers stated.

“We are pleased to see hospitals making progress in dealing with their mobile device challenges across the board,” Hemant Goel, president of Spok, Inc., said in a statement. “Over the past two years, respondents have improved areas such as compliance, coverage, and data security, but there is still work to be done.”

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