While a new generation smartphone will commonly make waves in the world of consumer technology, it’s rare for such a prominent device to have the potential to transform an entire industry. In this case, the industry in question is healthcare, and the smartphone with the power to change it all is the next-generation iPhone SE, which Apple released earlier this year.
Allow me to give you some background information. Coming to prominence in the early 1980’s, Metcalfe’s Law states that the value of a communication network increases exponentially as participants are added. It makes sense—two people within a network can only communicate with each other. Add more users, and they will be able to make any number of connections. As a company that develops clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) software, we have witnessed this phenomenon countless times over the last decade.
A Network in Action
That’s why we preach the value of deploying across the entire enterprise. When 500 employees are all connected to the same secure, unified collaboration platform, there are 250,000 possible channels of communication, affording clinical staff much-needed flexibility and multi-disciplinary scope. All of a sudden, nursing staff can reach not only clinicians in the same unit but operational team members from transport, pharmacy, environmental services and more.
Mobilizing staff across the entire enterprise in this way doesn’t just translate to increased flexibility and convenience around patient care coordination—organizations that have deployed enterprise-wide have enjoyed emergency department admissions that are 15 percent faster, shorter lengths of stay and 20 percent quicker turnaround time in radiology. And that’s just to name a few.
Protecting the Investment
While these results speak for themselves, there is still a significant percentage of healthcare systems in the U.S. that haven’t implemented CC&C technology. After all, it’s no small undertaking and requires a certain degree of protecting existing investments. It requires hours of integration work to facilitate interoperability between the CC&C platform and the infrastructure of the organization.
Then there’s the matter of devices. An organization can easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on mobile devices for staff, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Beyond that initial investment, it costs money to maintain the devices—both regular maintenance and user-focused maintenance like installing mobile device management (MDM) and managing licenses with your telephony vendor or your EHR.
These investments quickly add up, and the natural inclination for healthcare leadership everywhere is to write off mobility initiatives as cost-prohibitive. A common compromise is to limit the provision of smart devices to certain roles, like providers only, or to deploy mobile technology in a single unit that has historically needed support from a CC&C platform.
A Better Solution
As a mobility architect, it’s clear to me that compromises like this ultimately end up limiting the value an organization can reap from deploying a CC&C platform. By limiting the number of participants in the communication pool, you’re limiting the time saved to only include those with access to the platform.
That’s why our company prices our solution by bed rather than by user. It’s our mission to accelerate operations across the entire enterprise, and the best way we can carry out that mission is to make it as easy as possible to deploy our platform to every colleague.
That’s also why we strived for—and achieved—total compatibility with the new iPhone SE. A less expensive smartphone with full communication and collaboration capabilities truly has the power to facilitate faster, smoother patient care. By removing these common, cost-prohibitive barriers to mobile technology, every healthcare organization should be able to reexamine their health IT initiatives and reprioritize CC&C deployment.
For more information on how we achieved this compatibility, or to learn more about the impact our platform has had on clinical operations, reach out to us here.