NetMotion Wireless, provider of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software, in partnership with FierceMarkets, recently announced the results of their "Healthcare Goes Mobile" survey. Carefully analyzing responses from nearly 200 healthcare executives, they discovered tablets and smartphones are fast becoming an indispensible part of hospital and home health agency services. This shift has been boosted by increased speed and ubiquity of mobile devices and wireless networks along with a workforce that has become more comfortable with technology. But the benefits of embracing mobile technologies are quickly being threatened by connectivity challenges, security risks, operating system incompatibilities, and more.

NetMotion Wireless polled health IT leaders at organizations that currently deploy or are planning to deploy mobile solutions, for use cases such as access to clinical applications and patient data on tablets and smartphones. The survey findings uncover four key trends:

  • Patients and Caregivers Benefiting from Mobility: The majority (93 percent) of respondents said mobile deployments were either extremely or very important to day-to-day operations. These mobile devices, especially tablets, help workers in the field deliver patient care more efficiently and give home health agencies centralized control over how caregivers deliver services.
  • Mixed Device Ownership Brings Security Challenges: Fifty percent of survey respondents cited patient data security as their top concern. Compromises to network security and accidental access to patient data when the clinician or employee uses their own device can lead to costly HIPAA violations. According to the survey, more hospitals and health systems (48 percent) use a mix of personal and corporate devices; although a pure "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy is rare -- only 7 percent of respondents had one.
  • Connectivity is Critical: Slow network connectivity was the top complaint (45 percent) with the next biggest complaint (24 percent) being dropped connections. These are common problems because clinicians and home health caregivers are frequently roaming between varied networking topologies, for example from wired to Wi-Fi (corporate to public) to mobile broadband. This issue is even more apparent when having to connect in rural areas with spotty coverage.
  • Application Support a Key Driver/Inhibitor for Device Selection: When deciding what types of devices to give clinicians for mobile use, 54 percent said the number and type of applications that the device supports drives the decision and 46 percent said compatibility with the existing corporate infrastructure is the main driver.

"The home health industry is clearly enjoying the benefits and doing their best to manage the challenges of extending tablets and smartphones to hospital and home health workers," says Tracy Crowe, Director of Product Marketing, NetMotion Wireless. "This survey confirms that our solutions focusing on connectivity, visibility and control of mobile devices are essential to more productive mobile deployments in healthcare."