Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Honeywell White Paper calls for convergence in mobile device usage

There is no doubt that the increasing use of mobile devices, such as smartphones, has transformed the way healthcare providers communicate and that this growing trend has the power to revolutionise the way hospitals deliver care in the future.

Texting has already replaced voice calls as the favoured method of communication among the general population and it is rapidly growing in popularity in hospitals, with staff frequently exchanging texts on their own personal mobiles. As more hospitals issue mobile devices to employees, the ability to communicate quickly and access and update patient data on the move has become a critical function.

However, a new White Paper from Honeywell in the USA warns that there is a danger of clinical staff becoming overwhelmed with the onslaught of new technology, which may already include pagers, VOIP phones, pendants and scanners, all introduced as part of initiatives to improve patient care, but resulting in a “patchwork” solution.

The danger of this approach is that the plethora of alarms, beeps and buzzers constantly being activated, many of which are not urgent, can lead to them being ignored, or in worst case scenarios turned down or off entirely, which may result in fatalities.

The Honeywell White Paper recommends hospitals should consider moving to a converged mobile device, which can lighten the load for nursing staff, reduce the complexity of nursing IT and prevent medical errors caused by alarm and alert fatigue. Consolidating functions on one device provides quick access to medical records, drug information and instant communication between staff, enabling better and faster decisions to be made.

In the healthcare environment a converged mobile device is not an off-the-shelf smartphone, but should include a hospital-grade bar code scanner, extended battery life sufficient to last an entire shift on a single charge, be rugged enough to survive being dropped to a hard floor without shattering the display and be able to withstand regular cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectant cleaners.

Devices can run on iPhone, Windows or Android and should be able to support a variety of healthcare applications as well as multiple messaging platforms.

Introducing converged mobile devices can lead to improvements in efficiency and patient care as well as a reduction in operational cost by reducing the need to purchase and support lots of different devices with the relevant licences. IT solutions may be simplified with all mobile functions, including nurse call systems and bar code scanning solutions, consolidated onto one device with a familiar user interface, thus improving staff productivity and responsiveness and improving patient care and safety.