Mobile Computing in Nursing Study

June 16, 2004 - A recent comprehensive report produced by Spyglass Consulting entitled "Mobile Computing in Nursing" discusses the current state of mobile computing within the nursing profession. It identifies the market drivers, trends, opportunities and challenges to using mobile computing devices and nursing applications at the point of care.

Mobile Computing in Nursing provides valuable insights into how nurses are using mobile computing solutions at the bedside and how these solutions can best be used to solve existing workflow inefficiencies. The study uncovers strong opinions regarding the market opportunities and challenges for deploying mobile nursing solutions within healthcare organizations today.

According to the high-tech market research firm more than 90% of nurses are reluctant to use the TabletPC for bedside nursing. Nurses reported that the TabletPC is an inappropriate form factor because the TabletPC is to fragile to large and heavy and has inadequate battery life.

The Spyglass Consulting Group also found that:

  • Nurses are also reluctant to use Computers on Wheels (COWs) because they are heavy and awkward to push, "never around when you need one", violate JACHO and fire regulations, and are not well suited for older hospitals where hallways, doorways and rooms are often smaller.
  • 87% of the nurses interviewed own and use a PDA, with 75% using a Palm Powered device.
  • Mobile computing can increase nursing productivity and efficiency.
  • Mobile computing can enhance patient safety and reduce the risks of medial errors.

Nurses represent a large market opportunity that can exploit the potential benefit of information technology. According to hospital administrators interviewed, the need for nursing automation and mobile computing is being driven by a number of powerful market forces including:

  • Renewed industry focus on patient safety
  • Aging baby boomer population
  • Skyrocketing healthcare costs
  • Acute nursing shortage
  • Healthcare industry’s under-investment in IT

Market Opportunity. Mobile computing is poised to revolutionize the way nurses provide care at the bedside to improve nursing productivity and efficiency, increase patient safety and reduce risk of medical errors. With mobile computing, nurses can:

  • Generate structured clinical documentation
  • Automate safety checks through bar code technology
  • Access information on-demand
  • Automate vital sign data collection
  • Facilitate real-time communications with team members
  • Practice evidence-based nursing

Today, mobile computing is gaining momentum at healthcare organizations around the country. Healthcare organizations are implementing mobile computing initiatives primarily with computers-on-wheels enabling nurses to do clinical documentation and bar code medication administration at the patient’s bedside. Large numbers of nurses are also independently purchasing mobile devices and standalone reference based tools themselves.

While a growing number of organizations are implementing mobile nursing solutions, a significant number of challenges exist for widespread deployment. These challenges include:

  • Priority of nursing automation
  • Funding
  • Quality of HCIT vendor products
  • Clinician adoption

The report: "Healthcare without Bounds - Mobile Computing in Nursing", is copyright Spyglass Consulting, who have kindly given us permission to reproduce this report in part here. The entire report is available for $1,495 (USD) form the Spyglass Consulting website.

Gregg Malkary; Managing Director of the Spyglass Consulting Group can be reached by email.


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