Hospitals are aggressively embracing mobile technology and with good reason: Mobile applications enable doctors, nurses and staff to spend more time at the patient’s bedside. According to studies conducted by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, increased bedside presence has a positive impact on patient outcomes. 

That sort of improvement in patient care is increasingly important to the economic health of hospitals, given the financial disincentives the Affordable Care Act mandates for readmissions and other indicators of quality shortfalls.

Mobile also helps hospitals drive down costs. For example, studies show that mobile apps can reduce the number of steps a nurse has to walk during a workday by more than one-third. Such efficiencies enable hospitals to keep payroll under control while providing better care.

The Matter at Hand

In their eagerness to implement new mobile apps, many hospitals make the mistake of equipping staff with a hodgepodge of off-the-shelf consumer devices. This often happens because decision-makers focus primarily on mobile apps, infrastructure and security; devices are an afterthought.

Making matters worse, different departments will often spearhead their own mobile initiatives. This fragmented approach results in the unnecessary deployment of multiple devices.

There are also several downsides to using consumer devices within healthcare environments:

  • Devices often fail because they can’t stand up to the requirements of a clinical setting, such as constant sanitizing.
  • Hospital staff may have to carry separate devices for clinical data access; wireless voice, paging or text notification; or barcode scanning.
  • Security for consumer devices may not comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates.
  • IT staff may be saddled with the extra work and costs associated with supporting multiple devices that lack essential management features.

A Better Prescription for Mobile

Based on lessons learned from early adopters, it’s clear the smarter approach is to use a true handheld computer specifically designed for hospitals. The Zebra MC40-HC is such a device.

The device is based on an enhanced version of the popular Android operating system and a proven Motorola chipset. It has built-in security for data safety and HIPAA-compliant messaging. Its scanner delivers reliable reads under conditions that would thwart the typical consumer device, and it includes the push-to-talk functions that those devices lack.

Just as important, by using a single multifunction device across all institutional applications, hospitals can significantly reduce support and other ownership costs, even as they add mobile capabilities.

Hospitals are investing millions into mobile applications, mobile infrastructure, user training and ongoing IT support. It doesn’t make sense to put those investments at risk by skimping on the device.

The Zebra MC40-HC rigorously protects those investments, promoting the long-term success of hospitals as they continue to expand their use of mobility to improve care and boost efficiency.

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