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Mobile Communications: A Blessing to Healthcare

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Why should healthcare facilities invest in this Mobile Communications?

  • Worker accessibility is critical in the hospital environment. Nurses, doctors, technicians, maintenance and transport staff must be able to instantly reach and be reached by colleagues.
  • Outdated paging systems and multiple communication devices cause misunderstanding and reduce productivity in hospitals.
  • Hospitals have emergencies everyday, and being prepared for emergency situations is of the upmost importance. Having a mobile communication device that alarms staff members of an emergency allows them to prepare in advance. Being prepared in advance increases productivity by improving response time and eliminating wasted time on false alarms.
  • Having the capability to search, create, and manage information in your hand helps physicians drastically improve decision-making.

It is clear that the potential for mobile communication to transform healthcare and clinical intervention in the community is tremendous. Several previous studies have evaluated the use of mobile phones to support healthcare and public health interventions, notably in the

1. Collection and collation of data for healthcare research

2. Support of medical and healthcare education and clinical practice in the community

3. Support telemedicine and remote healthcare in developing nations, with examples including their use in off-site medical diagnosis and as information support in the treatment of HIV care in difficult to reach rural areas.

4. The use of short message service (SMS) text in the management of behavior change.

5. In sexual health education.

6. Improve patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment

7. Controlled drug trials.

8. GPS (Global Positioning System) and location-enabled smartphones offer many additional application opportunities that can further assist the independent living of persons with disabilities and/or multiple chronic conditions, as well as in epidemiology/public health surveillance and community data collection.

Use of this new technology impact existing workflows

a. Increase productivity and efficiency in the healthcare environment

b. Help ensure that mobile workers are instantly available and accessible when needed

c. Increase available time for direct patient care

d. Enables immediate decisions at point of care

e. Enhances patient care.

Obstacles involved with using this technology in healthcare?

Cell phones are not a viable solution to the hospital communication challenge, as their usage is prohibited in certain areas of the hospital. Additionally, construction materials used in parts of the building can reduce or block coverage altogether. As a result, hospitals have typically relied on overhead paging to reach mobile employees and disseminate urgent messages. However, overhead paging can disrupt the healthcare environment — often disturbing patients as they try to sleep, rest or relax. And the public nature of overhead paging does not provide the level of discretion required by law for some messages, causing the recipient to take additional steps to learn the pertinent and sensitive details.

Communication inefficiencies can have a profound impact in the healthcare environment. For doctors, nurses and technicians, additional time spent on administrative tasks and tracking down colleagues directly translates into less time available to care for patients. According to a recent study, the average nurse spends only about 31 percent of his or her time in direct patient care.1 And with the current nursing shortage across the U.S., inefficiencies in working processes can further stress the system and erode quality of care.

  • Misinformation regarding mobile wireless systems, electromagnetic interference and management procedures has led to a broad range of inconsistent policies among healthcare organizations.
  • Overly-restrictive policies may act as obstacles to beneficial technology and may not address the growing need for personal communication of patients, visitors and the workforce. At the other extreme, unmanaged use of mobile communications can place patients at risk.
  • It may not be feasible for healthcare organizations to manage every mobile wireless handset that is randomly brought into their facility without certain restrictive limits.
  • Security: Transmission of sensible data over the air, Cryptography, Virtual Private Networks

Wireless devices increase adoption of electronic health records (EHR)

Ease of accessing patient records, security and privacy controls for electronic information, and the ability to share patient information across geographies and affiliations or a 360-degree view of the patient are some of the key factors that increase adoption of wireless devices for HER.. Electronic transfer of information can enable physician offices, laboratories, radiology practices, and hospitals to securely access and transfer patient information. Adopting these new systems and integrating them into practice workflows can improve patient safety and efficiency of care, reduce duplicate tests, enhance quality of care and health promotion, and save thousands of lives.

 


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