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Report: Most Healthcare Orgs Now Have Documented Mobile Strategies

April 3, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Compared to 2012, twice as many healthcare professional respondents said they have a documented mobile strategy within their organization.

The Springfield, Va.-based healthcare communications company Spok, Inc. has released the first of two reports on the results of the annual mobility strategies in healthcare survey. This research, conducted by Spok since 2011, is designed to assess mobile workflow enablement progress and trends in hospitals across the country. More than 300 healthcare professionals throughout the U.S. responded to this year’s questions about mobile strategy development, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, communications infrastructure, and opportunities to improve mobile communications.

Indeed, the survey revealed that 65 percent of respondents said they have a documented mobile strategy, double the amount from what the 2012 report found. For those that do have a documented mobile strategy in place, 40 percent have had a strategy for one to three years, and a combined 39 percent report their strategy has been in place for more than three years.

As for the reasons respondents selected for updating a mobile strategy, the primary drivers relate to what end users need, and changes in the underlying technology— shifting needs of end users (44 percent) and new mobile devices available on the market (35 percent). This was followed by citing new capabilities from their electronic health record (EHR) vendor (26 percent) and making adjustments because of changes in overall strategy goals (23 percent).

“The Evolution of Mobile Strategies in Healthcare” report (part one from Spok) focuses solely on the larger topics of mobile strategy development and maintenance. “Based on participant responses in this first installment of our findings, we see that mobile strategies are becoming more established in healthcare, and that most hospitals are making revisions as needed to keep these plans relevant and up-to-date. Ninety-three percent of hospitals with mobile strategies in place more than a year have updated their mobile plans,” said Hemant Goel, president of Spok.

Regarding security, however, while 25 percent of respondents said mobile policies are enforced by a security team monitoring the hospital or system, the same amount said there is no method for enforcing mobile policies.

The study findings also revealed that there is an opportunity for planning teams to include more strategic hospital initiatives within mobile plans. Survey participants were presented with a list of objectives, from improving nurse-to-physician communications to speeding emergency department (ED) bed turnover. They were asked if each objective was an identified hospital goal, and whether or not it was also a part of their mobility strategy. Respondents cited inclusion of hospital goals in their formal mobile plan less than 20 percent of the time. This may indicate an opportunity for hospitals to elevate mobile planning as a strategic initiative that advances broader hospital objectives, according to the researchers.

What’s more, participation in mobile strategy planning is dominated by the IT department, according to the research. These are the people usually tasked with taking strategies and turning them into a tangible, technological reality. However, mobile strategies were considered a technology initiative by only 25 percent of survey respondents. Twenty-four percent cited it as a clinical initiative and the majority, 47 percent, said that their mobile strategy is considered a communications initiative.

The second installment of this research, “The State of Mobile Communications in Healthcare: Devices, Infrastructure, and Access,” will be released in May.


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