Posted on September 4, 2018 in - Digital Health, – Health, Best Practices

A Clinical Mobility Strategy: 7 Key Ingredients for Success

Clinical Mobility Strategy: 7 Key Ingredients for Success

Mobile is revolutionising patient care and driving efficiencies across all areas of healthcare. Creating a successful clinical mobility strategy requires a forward-thinking approach that focuses on improving patient outcomes while accounting for future technology advancements.

With the transition toward patient-centered care models, leading hospitals investing in mobile communication solutions in order to improve care quality and outcomes, reduce healthcare delivery costs, and increase patient and provider satisfaction. These solutions take advantage of mobile’s myriad of capabilities in order to provide relevant, reliable, consistent and secure communications throughout the healthcare setting.

Mobile in a Clinical Setting

The adoption of clinical mobile strategy to streamline workflows, enhance productivity and support collaborative team-based care continues to expand across healthcare facilities. According to a HIMSS survey, 83% of physicians have reported using mobile technology to provide patient care. Physicians are most likely use these devices to view patient information (69%), view non-patient health information (65%), educate and train others (49%), use clinical information (42%), and to collect data when at a patient’s bedside (36%).

It is no surprise that healthcare executives increasingly consider mobile devices to be an integral part of clinical strategy as a means of boosting communication, efficiency and productivity. With the changing needs of end users, and the availability of new devices and solutions to solve clinical problems, there is a growing pressure for healthcare organisations to refine their strategic goals and plans regarding mobility.  

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What is a Mobility Strategy?

For mobile devices to make a real impact on clinical care, health organisations must implement a holistic strategy that revolves around the end user, workflow, data, and deliver quality patient care. One of the primary functions of a mobility strategy is to help align mobile initiatives with organisational goals in order to provide a successful framework for designing and implementing all mobile-related projects.

According to Spyglass research, a massive 78% of hospitals surveyed don’t have a comprehensive mobile strategy in place, even though 71% regard mobile communications as an emerging investment priority driven by the adoption of new patient-centered care models. Building a comprehensive strategy for healthcare mobility is critical for ensuring mobile solutions are fully supported and functioning properly.

It is essential to have a solid mobile strategy in place not only to align mobile objectives with organisational goals but also in order to achieve clinical adoption success. A mobility strategy provides an extensive framework for all mobile-related projects bringing together elements of communications, technology, security and implementation in a comprehensive plan with the aim of enhancing patient care.

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The Key Ingredients

Mobile strategy is evolving and continues to gain momentum in healthcare. The rapid growth of mobility in healthcare can be attributed to the fact that many clinicians are already using mobile devices at work. Keep in mind these 7 key ingredients when developing and implementing a successful clinical mobility strategy…

#1 Define the vision for your mobile initiatives

A successful strategy begins with healthcare leaders embracing a mobile-first culture to drive impactful change to patient care and the patient experience. A vision statement clearly defines how a clinical mobile strategy will help to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction as well as organisational goals and efficiencies.

It is crucial that your organisation is aligned with these goals and objectives and that they include specific timelines and results. More so, it is important that your IT team evaluates and implements mobile solutions that align with your vision. Without a clearly defined vision, you run the risk of investing in solutions that don’t meet your current or future requirements.

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#2 Get clinicians involved

An effective mobility strategy must meet the goals and requirements of the clinicians who will be using the mobile technology. As such, there is a growing trend to include clinical representatives in strategic planning teams in order to recognise the importance of the clinical viewpoint of the solutions end users. Therefore, increasing clinical involvement in the planning of your mobility strategy provides a significant opportunity to bring a vital end-user perspective to the table.

One essential step towards developing a comprehensive strategy is to survey and gather feedback from clinicians on their expectations and how they want to utilise mobile technology to improve workflows and patient care. These experts bring best practice knowledge and specialised skills with them to assist with strategy development and implementation planning to support adoption. It is important to incorporate clinician input in these 3 key areas:

  • The patient-care ecosystem context
  • How clinicians will use mobile technology
  • How clinicians expect the technology to perform

Mobility strategy doesn’t just affect the way clinicians communicate, it changes the way they practice. This is why it is important to understand user expectations and support practical technology use throughout the patient care environment. Uniting stakeholders, such as clinicians or departments tasked with enforcing the policies, is imperative to drive the adoption of new technologies.

#3 Choose a method of deployment

Successful clinical mobile deployment leads to streamlined workflows and improvements in care quality. However, before deploying mobile in the healthcare setting, it is important to consider what you are using the devices for, which devices will be supported, and how to ensure all devices are secure and compliant. There are several options to consider for your mobility deployment strategy.

Company-owned, business only (COBO):

This is where the company chooses the device for the user. The device can only be used within the organisation and no personal data is allowed. Although this may be seen as a more secure option of deployment it can also result in the users carrying around multiple devices.

Company-owned, personally enabled (COPE):

The is where the company issues a device that it chooses and pays for. In this case, the organisation has full control over the device but that the user can also use it for personal data. As such, users may be concerned about personal privacy.

Choose your own device (CYOD):

This is where users have the option to choose a pre-approved device. Even though the user owns the device it has to be easily secured and integrated into the organisation’s network. Therefore, user privacy is less of an issue.

Bring your own device (BYOD):

This is where users bring their own personal device to use for corporate data. Even though this option may save organisations money since they don’t need to invest in devices, they ultimately have less control over how the device is used.

It is important to consider your available IT resources and how much control you can realistically give users over their devices before making a deployment decision. Keep in mind, the operating system that your mobile solutions support may help simplify this decision. For example, if you are implementing a mobile app that is only developed for Android, then you may need to invest in mobile devices as not all clinicians will have access to this type of device.

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#4 Assess current IT infrastructure

Is your existing network and infrastructure adequately designed to power your new strategy? According to Spyglass research, 71% of hospitals indicated that their hospital IT doesn’t have the appropriate tools to monitor, manage and support mobile devices on their network. This research highlights the importance of assessing the impact that implementing mobile solutions will have on your current network infrastructure. This allows you to ensure that the organisation can support any necessary network upgrades and changes required for devices to be connected reliably and securely.

Auditing your organisation’s current infrastructure and technology assets provides insight into the opportunities and limitations of your ecosystem. Conduct a site assessment across your current infrastructure, technology assets and workflows in order to collect data that can be used to develop a comprehensive mobility strategy. Consider the following questions:

  • Who is responsible for purchasing, servicing and maintaining the devices and applications?
  • How will the devices be assigned to clinicians and/or teams?
  • How will these devices be stored when not in use?
  • Who can authorise the purchase of replacement devices?
  • Who is responsible for uploading applications to the devices?
  • Can your IT system ensure that your Wi-Fi network will support all additional bandwidth requirements?
  • Are integrations with your existing systems necessary to meet the larger goals of the organisation?

It might be the case that you will need to upgrade your organisation’s network and management tools. Remember to also implement reasonable and appropriate security measures for daily operations, ensuring regulatory compliance.

#5 Plan to pilot potential solutions

A proof of concept, or pilot, allows you to test and reiterate a mobile solution ensuring that it successfully meets your strategic goals and objectives. This process provides the opportunity to determine the viability of a solution through an initial rollout of the technology within a limited scope.

Running a pilot will help demonstrate whether the technology functions as it is intended to as well as highlight any areas of improvement. It is important to identify potential users and use cases for mobility solutions and to establish processes for gathering feedback from these users.

#6 Consider training and support

What training and user support is required for the successful adoption of your mobility strategy? McKinsey research highlighted as a potential barrier to strategy success that clinicians often feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to implement change. As such, it is important to put in place the necessary resources for mobility rollout, training and adoption.

Deploying a mobility strategy will impact clinical workflows, therefore, staff education should cover the technical and functional aspects of using the technology. Remember to tailor the training to a variety of technical expertise levels in order to build organisation-wide confidence in adopting mobile. Host regular training sessions on new mobile policies and data security measures employees should be taking.

As a part of your strategy, determine the level of support your in-house IT team will need to provide for mobility issues related to the device, apps, configuration and connectivity. Adequate technical support is necessary for the successful deployment of devices and implementation of solutions that aim to streamline workflow processes for clinicians.

#7 Measure and reiterate

How will you measure the effectiveness of your mobility strategy at achieving goals? Measuring success is an important piece of a mobility strategy that may be overlooked in the early planning stages. Starting strategy development by clearly articulating the end goals serves 3 very important purposes:

  • It clearly defines the end results and how they will be measured,
  • It helps keep the mobility team focused and motivated to overcome obstacles along the way, and
  • It unites all stakeholders and end-users behind a common purpose by outlining clear benefits to the organisation, individual clinical professionals, and to patients.

Identify key standardised metrics to help analyse the success, impact and benefits of your mobility strategy. Keep in mind that monitoring this will require time and effort that needs to be planned for in your strategy. Remember to gather clinician feedback on the use of mobile in their daily workflows and across the organisation. This clinician input, coupled with insights from analytics, will help you to refine your strategy and improve mobile solutions – enhancing usability, clinician engagement and adoption.

Keep in mind that mobile technology is rapidly evolving, so an effective strategy cannot remain static. As such, successful mobility strategies must evolve in order to remain relevant in a rapidly changing environment. It is important to regularly review and revise your strategy in order to drive mobile success and higher quality patient care.

Bringing it all together…

With a well-designed strategy in place, those who set their focus on adopting mobile will see improved patient care, streamlined clinical workflows and return on investment. Healthcare organisations must understand what they need out of mobility and establish a comprehensive strategy before they can successfully implement mobile solutions.

Once the fundamental decisions are made, it is time to set your mobile initiatives into motion. Choosing a solution that is flexible and able to easily integrate with your existing systems is key. Implement fit-for-purpose technology that is easy to use, convenient, reliable, scalable and cost-effective in order to achieve real success.

Developing a comprehensive mobility strategy can significantly benefit and enhance how we deliver care. Mobile solutions help drive clinical efficiency, quality care, patient satisfaction and improved clinical outcomes.

To find out what Liquid State can do for your healthcare organisation, get in touch with us today.