Nurses turning to un-authorized smartphones to meet data demands

By , Network World |  Consumerization of IT, BYOD, health care

It's this information demand that drives 69% of nurses in the survey to rely on their personal smartphones at work. "These solutions fill in critical communications gaps BUT they are not sanctioned by hospital IT," notes the Spyglass report.

In fact, such use is actively banned in many cases. One IT systems analyst at an academic hospital told Malkary, "Nursing administration has mandated that personal communications by nurses during normal work hours is not acceptable. Nurses found to be using their personal devices during work hours will be disciplined."

The widespread use of personal smartphones is due partly to the fact they don't require extensive integration with IT infrastructures. Tablets are more likely to require "significant integration," according to the report.

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:


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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