Unlike any other disease in recent times, COVID-19 has changed the way hospitals and other healthcare organizations use technology. Healthcare organizations are, of course, accustomed to handling patients with serious and highly contagious illnesses, but the nature of this pandemic has forced clinicians to adopt many of the same social distancing measures as professionals in other organizations. Mobile technology is helping these clinicians do their jobs as they follow social distancing guidelines.

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While mobile devices and applications have made significant inroads in healthcare in recent years, clinical mobility is now more important than ever. Here are six ways that healthcare organizations are relying on clinical mobility to help them navigate the coronavirus crisis.

1. Communication

Clinicians need secure ways to communicate with each other, and that’s even more important now that they have increased frontline patient care. Like businesses in other industries, healthcare organizations are relying on collaboration and communication tools such as Zoom, Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams to keep colleagues connected. Many hospitals are also leveraging tools such as TigerConnect to create “broadcast groups” that allow them to push out need-to-know information to users.

2. Telehealth

The COVID-19 crisis may prove to be a tipping point for telehealth solutions, which weren’t widely adopted by many clinicians before 2020. Part of the problem has been reimbursement rules, which have historically limited the ways organizations can bill for telehealth services. Those rules have been relaxed during the coronavirus crisis, and it’s easy to see a future where telehealth accounts for a large portion of routine or initial office visits. Many organizations have seen a massive growth in telehealth since the beginning of the year.

3. Virtual Rounding

As a way to promote social distancing and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), some hospitals have adopted virtual rounding solutions that allow clinical teams to check in on their patients via videoconferencing. The mobility management vendor Jamf has patented a solution that allows patients to join secure Zoom sessions with the press of a button, eliminating much of the complexity associated with video collaboration.

4. Virtual Reality

This may be somewhat of a niche solution, as VR isn’t as widely adopted as other mobility tools. However, healthcare overall has been an early adopter of VR technologies, and we’ve seen a number of organizations implement solutions that allow clinicians to participate in training from a distance. Some are even using VR apps to train clinicians on the proper way to put on and take off PPE. That may sound pedestrian compared to VR apps that train physicians how to perform complex surgeries, but it has the potential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout a hospital.

5. Voice Technology

Again, this goes back to preserving PPE. When patients can use voice-enabled digital assistants from vendors such as Google and Amazon, they can access resources they need while requiring fewer touchpoints from clinicians.

6. Mobile Apps

Finally, many healthcare organizations are leaning on clinical mobile apps — and the mobile version of their electronic health record systems — more than they were before the pandemic. It’s a trend that predates the COVID-19 crisis, but this year has certainly been a catalyst. And looking ahead, it’s a trend that is nearly certain to continue.

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