Clinical Mobility: A Healthcare Revolution Is Coming

Jason St. Jean

Yes, there is a revolution coming in healthcare. No, I’m not referring to a “wonder drug” or new surgical procedure. I’m referring to technology—more specifically, clinical mobility. A 2022 Hospital Vision Study conducted by Zebra found that mobile device usage is expected to increase dramatically over the next four to five years across all areas of the hospital, especially by nurses. According to the study, “By 2022 nurses across all disciplines—bedside, emergency room, operating room, and intensive care—will increasingly use mobile technology. In many cases, it is becoming an indispensable tool.            

After reading this study, it was quite obvious to me that this technological revolution will not only have a tremendously positive impact on patient care, but it will affect all areas of the hospital. Last year, I was visiting a relative in the hospital, and I saw first-hand the effect that advanced mobile technology—or lack thereof—can have on patient care. Watching the nurse sign into the room’s cart-mounted desktop computer, use the attached bar code scanner to scan the patient’s wrist band, wait for the records to populate on the screen, read the notes, and then finally begin to talk to the patient and identify next steps. But wait, there’s more: there was a cell phone for calling the assigned physician if necessary and a two-way radio clipped to her waistband in the event of a page, hospital-wide announcement, or emergency. All of this, repeated over and over again for hundreds of patients on a daily basis must be painful for both the nurses and their patients.

Knowing that a nurse can walk up to five miles in a 12-hour shift, there is no doubt in my mind that a clinical mobility solution, such as the Zebra TC51/56 line of “do-it-all” mobile devices, would have improved this patient’s care by increasing the time that the nurse would have been able to spend bedside. However, a clinical mobility solution doesn’t only have an impact on a clinician’s efficiency and patient care, but the hospital’s IT backbone, its network.

As personalized healthcare grows increasingly reliant on mobile devices and apps, clinics and hospitals are being forced to examine the health of their network infrastructure. The context-aware network infrastructure and mobility solutions, like those from Aruba, are used by thousands of hospitals and clinics to satisfy a wide range of critical healthcare applications, such as voice over Wi-Fi, telemetry and portable patient monitors, asset tracking, and telemedicine.

What does this all mean? Clinical mobility is transforming care at healthcare facilities around the world and is having a profound impact on nurses, doctors, IT executives, and patients. Although clinical mobility is the inevitable next step in healthcare, it is certainly not a solution that’s implemented overnight. Holistically looking at the benefits and impacts that mobility has on a hospital’s environment is essential.

Jason has more than 25 years of experience in point of sale hardware and software. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending time with his family and dog. He also loves to fish and work on perfecting his competition quality barbecue.