Even before COVID-19, much of today’s workforce had already gone mobile. It’s just the way people now communicate with coworkers, find information and work productively wherever they go. But when we talk with hospital leaders, it’s clear that in many ways healthcare has been left behind. Over a decade on from the HITECH act, many physicians and nurses still rely on clipboards, printed records, desktop terminals and even old fashioned pagers to access patient information and stay connected.
Despite recent advancements in smartphone-based clinical communications solutions, the collaboration technology provided to physicians and nurses has lagged far behind — even though ready access to information can be a matter of life and death.
This is frustrating for physicians, who were promised that the “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHR) would allow them easier access to reliable information. Instead, many physicians still rely on printed files or a photographic memory. To access the EHR, these physicians have to walk from the patient’s room to a nursing station so they can enter notes, write prescriptions or sign discharge papers.
Healthcare professionals are ready for mobile
Physicians and nurses know there’s a better way to work, and they’re more than ready to go mobile-first or even mobile-only. In a study published by the Journal of Hospital Administration, 85 percent of doctors said smartphones made their clinical communications easier, 79 percent found medical smartphone apps helpful, and nearly 68 percent said these tools didn’t require any training. And that was before COVID-19 pushed healthcare’s digital revolution forward by a decade.
With mobile clinical communication solutions, doctors can work more effectively and spend more time with their patients. They can also spend less time at crowded nurses’ stations — especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hospital staff “maintain physical distance as much as possible,” “increase workstation spacing” and “reduce the number of individuals allowed in common areas.”
So why has healthcare lagged behind in mobile technology, and how can hospitals catch up quickly?
Platform standardization eases tech challenges
It’s not that hospitals haven’t tried to increase mobile access; it’s that no model has stuck yet. This is largely because many hospitals have taken a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, which is notoriously challenging to secure and manage on an ongoing basis, especially in such a heavily regulated industry. Healthcare organizations also have a propensity for working with multiple software vendors, who may offer different functionality for different operating systems (OSs) — as well as different update schedules — which has also impeded physician mobility solutions.
For healthcare mobility to truly hit its stride, hospitals need to institute smart, adaptable solutions that address the entire physician workflow.
Samsung has been working closely with several leading healthcare providers on workflow innovation initiatives that enable physicians to be more mobile and productive. It’s about leveraging the incredible computing power of today’s smartphones or tablets to give physicians a desktop they can take anywhere. With Samsung DeX, we think we have the answer.
Imagining the mobile-only future
Picture a doctor who makes their rounds with a hospital-issued Samsung Galaxy Note20 or Note20 Ultra with an S Pen for easy note taking. Like other Samsung smartphones, the Note20 features the Samsung Knox security platform — built in from the chip up to protect against intrusion, malware and other threats.
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When the doctor enters a patient’s room, they greet the patient and, with the Galaxy smartphone, scan the patient’s wristband, bringing up their health records. The doctor connects their phone to the room’s LCD display, which doubles as a clinician workstation and a patient entertainment center.
The doctor and the patient review the doctor’s findings, examining charts and X-rays. If the patient has any questions, the doctor can access online medical resources to further illustrate the information — again displaying it on the big screen.
Samsung DeX, the desktop computing experience enabling this consultation, is entirely powered by the doctor’s phone. As the doctor examines the patient and asks them about their symptoms, the doctor can take notes, record their assessment and issue prescriptions using their Galaxy phone and S Pen. They can simultaneously display medical information on the room’s monitor. Without this technology, the doctor would have had to head to the nurse’s station to perform some of these tasks, taking them away from the patient and their family. Now, the doctor can stay in the room and answer questions as they work.
When the doctor is finished, they can quickly disconnect their smartphone and move on to the next patient’s room. Despite spending extra time with their first patient, the doctor is still ahead of schedule compared to the non-mobile approach. They may even be able to see a couple more patients during their shift.
After completing their rounds, the doctor will continue to use their smartphone for administrative tasks, docking it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse at the nurse’s station to answer emails, complete discharge papers and consult with colleagues.
Making smarter physician workflows a reality
This scenario is not as futuristic as it sounds. It’s all possible today with the power of a Galaxy smartphone and Samsung’s DeX platform, which can turn any space into a workspace. For hospitals trying to space out employee workstations during the pandemic, this solution makes it easy and affordable to put the workstations in strategic locations throughout the hospital. All it takes is a keyboard, monitor, mouse and the smartphone.
Unlike other mobile strategies, this solution doesn’t treat mobile as an “add-on” for some tasks but not others. It’s not about adding more endpoints that IT will have to manage. It’s about harnessing the power of today’s smartphones to drive the entire clinician workflow. Clinicians can use one device for all their data and communication needs, dramatically simplifying hospital IT. It can also tie in closely with the hospital’s virtual desktop strategy, since the leading virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) clients are optimized for DeX.
For hospitals to achieve full mobility, they’ll need to move beyond BYOD and commit to deploying mobile devices and applications. They’ll need to look carefully at their existing IT infrastructure, reach a consensus on their mobile goals and plan a phased rollout.
The mobile revolution may be nearly complete in other industries, but healthcare’s transformation is still underway. With devices like the Note20 and Samsung DeX, your organization can lead the charge.