Smartphones and tablet computers are used by more health care facilities each year, though the adoption of mobile technology is slow, according to the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Chicago.
Data from the HIMSS Analytics Database shows that 28 percent of all U.S. hospitals reported using smartphones in 2014 compared with 26 percent in 2013 and 23.4 percent in 2012. On average, 169 smartphones were deployed per hospital in 2014.
The use of tablet computers at hospitals also continues to increase but, as with smartphones, at a slow rate, according to HIMSS Analytics. Nearly 24 percent used tablets in 2014 compared with nearly 23 percent in 2013, 20 percent in 2012 and almost 19 percent in 2011.
While growth is slow, use of tablets has steadily increased from 2010 when only 16.6 percent of hospitals reported their use, the first year HIMSS surveyed health care facilities on the extent of their presence. An average of 37 devices were deployed per hospital in 2014.
The findings were reported in HIMSS Analytics 2014 Mobile Devices Study, which combined information from the HIMSS Analytics Database and a recent survey of 139 clinicians, including physicians, nurses and others.
Clinicians reported that smartphones and tablet computers greatly enhance their ability to communicate with other clinicians and health care providers. They also reported that the use of mobile devices is providing them with a more positive work experience.
Of the clinicians who responded to the survey, 36 percent said mobile technology would create overall efficiencies in care, 33 percent said it would have a minimal level of impact on care, 23 percent said they were unsure of its impact and 8 percent said it could make care worse.
“I think across the board we are starting to see there is a positive impact of mobile devices on patient care and work-life satisfaction of clinicians,” says Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research, HIMSS North America.
David Collins, senior director of health information systems, HIMSS, projects that mobile technology will continue to increase in importance as the health care industry grapples with Affordable Care Act regulations and implements electronic health records.
Horowitz says the study reinforces the benefits of mobile devices.
“I saw a very positive message from the study in terms of what smartphones and tablet computers can do for health care,” she says.