As a mobility solutions architect for CDW Healthcare, I’ve seen firsthand the powerful role mobility has played in transforming the very fabric of healthcare. As NHIT Week is upon us, the theme of transformation has never been more apparent or more fitting.

The trend of mobility itself — its adoption, growing use and expanding application — has seen its own transformation since really breaking onto the scene in 2007 in the wake of the arrival of smartphones and the time when tablets took off. According to Smart Insights research, the number of mobile device users has grown from roughly 200 million in 2007 to about 1.8 billion globally in this calendar year. The number of mobile device users finally surpassed desktop users in 2014.1

That’s staggering growth, and a testament to cultural shifts everywhere in how people access, consume and share information. But what does this have to do with healthcare? Everything.

Consider this: Nearly three-quarters of all physicians in the U.S. use their smartphones at work,2 88% of nurses use smartphone apps in their daily nursing work,3 and average daily usage for health and fitness apps grew 62% between December 2013 and June 2014 alone.4 Oh, and then there’s this: 74% of hospitals that use tablets or other mobile devices to collect information from patients are more efficient than those that don’t.5

Just eight short years ago there were no apps; notebooks, medical carts and PDAs were considered the top “mobile” technologies in the industry; and the idea of anytime, anywhere data access was just taking shape with the onset of HITECH, EHR adoption and the seedling notion of interoperability.

Now, mobile devices, mobile apps and mobility platforms are entrenched in the IT architectures of nearly all healthcare organizations. In short order, they’ve transformed the accuracy, convenience and quality of patient care. From the ability to access treatment records at the patient’s side to the ability to empower patients to take charge of their information via patient portals, healthcare will never be the same.

And that’s a good thing, because not only have healthcare providers embraced mobility — patients have, too:

  • 79% feel more connected to healthcare providers who don’t spend a lot of time on paperwork during visits.5
  • 85% feel more comfortable about a hospital’s quality of care knowing it is using the latest technology.5
  • 54% of hospitals say patients are less anxious during visits when providers use tablets or other mobile devices to perform data collection.5
  • More than 67% of Americans who have a doctor say these top benefits make consulting their doctor over a mobile device the best option for them:5
    • Lowered consultation costs (36%)
    • No waiting rooms or canceled appointments (36%)
    • Shorter consultation times (34%)
    • Doctor having access to full medical histories (32%)
    • Doctors available 24 hours a day (29%)

It’s clear that both healthcare organizations and patients recognize all that mobility has to offer. But like any transformative technology, change is inevitable. The mobile tools and uses today will likely seem obsolete a decade from now.

The challenge for healthcare entities, then, lies in being able to continuously transform their IT landscape to adopt, address and embrace next-generation mobile advancements … before they arrive. Transformation can’t happen in a vacuum. And neither can achieving the ultimate vision that so many hope to realize from the adoption of mobility — optimal patient care.

Ready for more NHIT Week transformation testimonials? Keep on the lookout for other guest blogs all week! And connect with us @CDW_Healthcare on Twitter using hashtag #NHITWeek to be part of the discussion., “Statistics on Mobile Usage and Adoption to Inform Your Mobile Marketing Strategy,” July 2015, “Your Nurse’s Doctor on Call May Be an App, According to New Data from InCrowd,” June 2015, “Health in Hand: Mobile Technology and the Future of Healthcare,” October 2014, “Report: Hospitals That Use Tablets/Mobile Devices Are More Efficient,” April 2015

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