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Nurses turning to un-authorized smartphones to meet data demands

New report bares conflict as healthcare struggles with mobility

By , Network World
December 21, 2012 01:36 PM ET

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At the same time, these nurses are deeply dissatisfied with current tablets, including Apple's iPad, which is spreading rapidly in the rest of the enterprise market. Asked if the Apple iPad was "ready to transform nursing care at the patient's bedside," nearly all of respondents -- 96% -- said "no." They gave the iPad good grades compared to traditional, Windows-based tablet PCs -- for being lighter, more intuitive, and having a longer battery life. Yet the Apple tablet, and its Android rivals, can't be properly cleaned and disinfected, lacks durability, and is weakened by the dearth of native clinical applications.

"Nurses interviewed believe that the Apple iPad would not be the ideal device for a bedside nurse because the bedside nurse has more extensive documentation requirements that require a fullsize screen, keyboard and mouse," according to the report.

Malkary goes so far as to say that nurses have "rejected" tablets for nursing workflows.

One in 4 of the survey respondents reported being dissatisfied with the quality and reliability of their facility's wireless LAN.

Security concerns by hospital administrators and IT groups are well-founded. Mobile devices can be lost or stolen, employees are often resistant to the use of strong password protection and data encryption, and can download personal apps that may be either insecure or designed as malware.

Among the Spyglass recommendations:

  • much more proactive and vigorous efforts by IT to identify hospital workers' requirements for mobile technology
  • define enforceable policies and procedures for personal devices on the hospital network
  • expand help desk resources with skilled personnel dedicated to mobile technology support

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. 
Twitter: @johnwcoxnww
Email: john_cox@nww.com

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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