The promise of mobile technology provided to hospital workers does not affect patient care – Global Health News Wire
As hospitalists – doctors who provide general medical care to hospitalized patients – become increasingly common, a new study provides a better understanding of missed and potential opportunities to integrate mobile technology, such as cell phones, tablets and apps (apps) in hospitalist workflows to improve patient care.
“Health systems across the country have invested heavily in health information technology [HIT], but when it comes to mobile technology delivered to hospitalists, HIT has not incorporated many user-centric designs,” said study corresponding author and human factors engineer April Savoy, PhD. scholar at the Regenstrief Institute and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and a Purdue School of Engineering and Technology on faculty at IUPUI. “Cell phones work well for ordering a ride from a car service or posting to social media because their apps are designed for the consumers these companies want to reach. But we have seen a lack of user-centric mobile technology applications designed to reduce difficulty and increase efficiency in hospital workflows and improve patient care.
“We determined that when hospitalists leave their desks to see patients, these hard-working physicians rely on paper, a pen, and most importantly, their memory,” Dr. Savoy noted. This memory dependency contributes to the cognitive load of daily work and can threaten patient safety. With the number and acuity of patients increasing all over the world, ways to improve day-to-day hospital care are urgently needed.
“During rounds, hospital staff don’t use mobile technology because it’s not user-centric. Apps that are easy to use on small screens without keyboards are missing because most healthcare systems haven’t figured out how to make mobile devices accessible when and where they’re needed and haven’t addressed basic issues like battery life and device sanitation.
After mapping workflows and interviewing hospitalists, the study authors identified the most frequent, redundant, or most challenging tasks from a provider perspective and offered potential solutions, including types of apps. that could be prioritized to address issues and provide solutions. Based on their analysis, they concluded that mobile applications focused on data entry and presentation that support specific tasks should also be prioritized.
“Clinician Perspectives on Unmet Mobile Technology Needs in Hospitals: Workflow Analysis Based on Semi-Structured Interviews” is published online in JMIR Human Factors. The study, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, was conducted to inform processes for designing and implementing future health information technologies to improve the continuity of hospital medicine and ultimately account, patient care.