Clinical mobility is transforming care at healthcare facilities around the world and is having a profound impact on nurses, doctors, IT executives and patients.
by Chris Sullivan
It is an exciting time for the healthcare industry in Asia, with new opportunities and challenges alike arising. Frost and Sullivan predicts that the healthcare industry in Asia-Pacific will achieve 11.1 percent growth this year to reach US$517 billion, vastly outstripping the global growth rate of 4.8 percent.1 The research also noted that one of the key drivers of growth will be the adoption of technology.
At the same time, players in the regional healthcare industry will have to evolve to be able to overcome some of the challenges that are arising to face them. These range from managing an increasingly ageing population and staff shortages to rising costs. Indeed, governments are stepping up their efforts to ensure that healthcare capacity will be sufficient for the needs of their people. Many governments across the Asia-Pacific region have placed healthcare as a focus of their plans, especially on the back of ageing populations in the region.
As healthcare systems evolve and improve patient care, hospital administrators see clinical mobility as an important part of their IT transformation plan. The use of mobile devices such as handheld mobile computers, tablets and mobile printers in hospitals can improve care and service delivery. Clinical mobility covers a wide range of beneficial applications, from improving communication between staff, providing better access to medical records to speeding up the delivery of lab results. It also covers monitoring patients through biomedical devices and monitoring equipment, including using data provided by patients from wearable technology.
Are patients comfortable?
Of course, patient and end-users need to be comfortable with the concept of clinical mobility to ensure the best outcomes. Results from Zebra Technologies’ 2022 Hospital Vision Study – which combines three global research surveys, focusing on the impact of mobile technology use in acute care hospitals, showed that 95 percent of patients surveyed were willing to share their health metrics, collected from wearables.2 The study focused on nurse managers, IT decision makers and recently hospitalised patients.
Overall, 77 percent of patients said they felt positive about clinicians using mobile devices in their care. Delving deeper into the topic of clinical mobility, its implementation and strengths fall into two key areas: elevating patient care and expanding the use of mobile devices.
Raising standards of care in healthcare
As hospitals contemplate clinical mobility, it is imperative that they consider the needs and habits of today’s smartphone tethered, ever-connected patients. Hospitals that do not adopt clinical mobility will likely have a difficult time attracting and treating patients who are beginning to expect technology to be a central part of their care.
Mobile devices are helping to improve patient care through the reduction of preventable medical errors, better staff communication and decreased cost of patient care. Zebra’s research has found that 72 percent of hospitals cite improved quality of patient care as a direct result of clinical mobility.
In the 2022 Hospital Vision Study, nursing managers and IT decision-makers surveyed also indicated that they are confident that clinical mobility can reduce errors in relation to patient care. By 2022, 91 percent of nurses expect to spend less time away from patients thanks to mobile access to electronic health records (EHRs) (91 percent), medical and drug databases (92 percent), and lab diagnostic results (88 percent). This is important as nurse/patient interaction is being squeezed in an ever-stressful global healthcare system.
Gains in clinician productivity and convenience are driving the rapid expansion of mobile technology use throughout hospitals across Asia and the world. It is estimated that by 2022, nearly all hospitals expect the use of mobile devices will be standard across departments. Interestingly, this rapid growth includes areas where mobility is already widely used, with deployment among bedside nurses rising from 65 to 95 percent. The most dramatic rise is expected among intensive care nurses (38 rising to 93 percent) and operating room / catheterization lab nurses (36 rising to 91 percent).
In the future, 98 percent of IT decision-makers expect predictive analytics and early notification for life threatening conditions, such as sepsis and hospital-acquired infection, will be sent to clinicians’ mobile devices. Analytics will play a big part in the healthcare system of the future. The benefits of analytics in healthcare include better doctor-patient interaction and driving cost-savings and efficiencies.
What lies ahead
The emerging generation of ever-connected healthcare consumers have come to understand that if they provide their necessary information, the rewards are plentiful including time savings and even better care.
As the healthcare industry faces an unprecedented number of challenges, from ageing populations and staff shortages to rising costs, mobility is rapidly emerging as the desired solution of nurses, IT professionals and patients.
Healthcare providers must embrace and invest in purpose-built, smart mobile communication devices if they are to improve patient experiences, nurse satisfaction and hospital efficiency to provide adequate health services under tight financial budgets. Clinical mobility is essential for the healthcare sector becoming more efficient and effective while enabling healthcare professionals with the best means to help people.
Chris Sullivan is the global healthcare practice lead at Zebra Technologies