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The Benefits of Using Mobile Devices in Healthcare

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have been tasked with increased documentation activities required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and other regulations. At the same time, many facilities face staffing shortages and budget cuts, while still being expected to improve the quality of care.

Using mobile devices in healthcare applications can relieve the burden of manually collecting, verifying, and entering data into an electronic medical record (EMR), while at the same time improving caregiver communication and the quality of care.

Using mobile devices, doctors and nurses can scan barcoded patient wristbands, charts, and medications in order to ensure accurate medication administration and treatment. Mobile devices can also be used to manage pharmacy inventory, for asset management, and for other types of materials and inventory tracking throughout the hospital.

While mobile devices in healthcare are often rugged, moisture-resistant devices that were purpose-built for these applications, there are also other options that incorporate popular consumer devices. Healthcare providers can also integrate popular mobile devices like the Apple iPhone into these solutions using custom applications and specially designed sleds. For example, Honeywell’s Captuvo SL42h sled for the iPhone and Captuvo SL22h for the iPod touch provide an integrated barcode scanner and disinfectant-ready protective housing and sealed screen protector that can turn a phone into a clinical computing device. By outfitting a commonly used phone with a robust barcode scanner and hot swappable external battery pack, healthcare organizations get the advantages of an easy-to-use interface, along with the performance of a purpose-built mobile computing device.

Mobile devices in the healthcare setting can also be used for the direct management of patient care. Nurses and doctors must frequently pause during care activities to enter data into stationary computers in order to update the electronic medical record (EMR) or enter notes into a paper chart. There are now applications available that allow clinicians to update charts on the go using mobile phones, hand-held computers, or tablets. Nurses can consult the plan of care without leaving the bedside and returning to the nursing station.

Communication among clinicians can also be improved. Using converged mobile devices like smartphones can help hospitals replace the disparate collection of pagers, VOIP phones, barcode scanners and other devices that doctors and nurses carry. Instead, they can access the EMR, patient alerts, and secure text and voice messages on a single platform. Doing so also reduces IT cost and complexity for the facility.

In addition, clinicians can access mobile apps for electronic prescribing, diagnosis and treatment, practice management, coding and billing, and other activities. This reduces the administrative burden for physicians and improves efficiency. Doctors can see more patients each day, and clinicians can potentially avoid dangerous medical errors because the information they need is right in their hands.

With mobile technology, healthcare professionals are equipped to be well-coordinated care teams. Mobility can provide immediate improvements in efficiency and patient care. These solutions also improve the way doctors, nurses and other end users utilize the electronic medical record and interact with each other and patients.

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