I just read two competing articles on BYOD usage by clinicians, the first in Becker’s Hospital Review, which states that, “…a majority (67 percent) of hospitals interviewed reported staff nurses are using personal smartphones to support clinical communications and workflow.” Meanwhile, HealthITSecurity contends, “… a Spok survey found that healthcare BYOD use is declining due to health data security concerns.”
So, what’s going on? Are more clinicians bringing their own smartphones for Clinical Communications & Collaboration (CC&C) or is this use declining? Our response: Neither – the true BYOD market for CC&C is too new to make definitive statements and attempt to spot important trends.
How can these two articles come up with such different conclusions? It all depends on the question and the audience. For example, if you ask the staff nursing population if they are bringing their smartphone to the hospital and using the devices to text colleagues, then you will likely find a large and growing percentage of users utilizing their BYOD phones.
However, if you poll hospital security officers or IT managers and ask, “Are security concerns causing your hospital’s BYOD usage to decline?” then you will probably calculate a negative trend. The security issues, both around patient privacy and general hospital information, have led many facilities to restrict, or outright ban, BYOD connections to the hospital’s network.
The end result is an inherent conflict: clinicians find that utilizing smartphones in their workflow is so valuable that they are willing to use their own phones instead of waiting for the hospital to provide them with the needed technology. In contrast, security and IT executives are concerned enough about potential data breaches and misuse issues that they are attempting to halt this end-user trend.
This conflict between need and safety is the basis for our new market, Clinical Communications & Collaboration. The basic tenants of it are:
- Provide clinicians with the communication, patient info and collaboration tools that they need to provide the best possible patient care.
- Do the above with the highest available level of security – both physical and data.
As a vendor in the CC&C market, are we on track? We think we’ve built a full-featured CC&C product suite that includes gold standard security to address the conflict, but we’d like to hear your thoughts on this issue as well. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publish the results in a future article.