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● BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Challenges and benefi ts in a mobile

medical world Institutions should create a set of BYOD guidelines that foster mobile device usage.

By Anne Meneghetti, M.D. B

ring your own device (BYOD) is a growing trend in healthcare as multiple device usage becomes more popular. How many mobile devices do healthcare professionals need at the point of care?

Today’s answer: at least two. Before the late 1990s, the devices clinicians relied upon to stay connected rarely made an ap- pearance inside an exam room. Now, modern practitioners access information, record clinical data and communicate with patients using mobile devices, which are increasingly integrated into the fl ow of the patient encounter. In recent years, juggling smartphones with large tablets or laptops in front of patients led to a demand for the optimally sized point-of-care device. T e recent introduction of the iPad Mini represents a long-awaited form-factor – a happy medium in terms of portability, and an optimal swivel device for point- of-care patient education. While some healthcare organizations assign mobile devices to their clinicians and staff , a great number of healthcare work- ers use their own smartphones and tablets, combining work and personal activity. All personal mobile devices bring with them security, privacy and compatibility challenges, such as keeping patient data safe. To overcome the obstacles of this BYOD phenomenon, it is important for hospital CIOs and practice managers to understand why fostering mobile device preference benefi ts the physician, patient and institution.

Multi-platform device adoption Physicians are on the forefront of mobile innovation. At least 80 percent of U.S. physicians use a smartphone, tablet, laptop or combination of devices at the point of care, with some studies estimating usage by more than 90 percent. But preferences vary. A majority of these physicians prefer Apple iOS products, with Android as a distant second and other

6 February 2013

platforms trailing. Nearly 30 percent of physicians who use a mobile device are using more than one, reaching for the form factor that makes the most sense for each point-of-care task. Supporting this is a critical challenge – physicians expect their devices to seamlessly work with multiple hospital and private practice systems, as well as serve their personal needs for communications and media. Employing multiple devices for personal and business use can cause logistical problems for healthcare system-wide programs. Some of us are old enough to remember what it is like to

have three or four beepers hanging off the waist of your scrub pants while on call. While clinicians today may have multiple diff erent devices, they are less likely to tolerate the burden of duplicates of the same device for work and personal use. Per- sonal mobile device preferences are unique to the practitioner and clinical situation; healthcare professionals will save time and optimize results with the ability to choose the form factor that works best for them without having to conform to one institutional standard.

Each mobile device brings its own unique benefi ts and drawbacks.

Smartphones at the point of care Nothing bests a smartphone for quickly looking up a drug dose, checking a drug interaction or getting a quick diff erential diagnosis list. If it’s quick and easy, it is more likely to get done. A recent survey by a leading clinical app developer (Epocrates Specialty Survey 2012: mediaresources/statistics) stated that 60 percent of physicians reported avoiding at least one adverse drug error per week by using information found in its application. T at equals thou- sands, if not millions, of errors avoided annually by physicians all over the United States. In the same survey, physicians also


Anne Meneghetti, M.D., is director of clinical

communications, Epocrates.

For more on Epocrates: www.rsleads. com/302ht-202

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