Ben Moore, Chief Product Officer
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Smartphones have the potential to transform workflows for nurses and other hospital caregivers. Rather than carrying around multiple devices, smartphones give clinicians mobile access to the EMR, integration with nurse call and telemetry, and secure medical communication and collaboration.
PerfectServe has partnered with many clients in their transition toward mobility with smartphones to enhance clinical collaboration. We want to use this experience to help other health systems in the journey.
The first question we hear about mobilizing care team communication is usually, “Which device should we buy?” and the answer is always, “It depends.”
No one device has emerged as the clear best choice across the board, but we are happy to share some top contenders and key considerations for health systems evaluating mobile devices.
Zebra Technologies TC52-HC1
Zebra has been in the healthcare space for years, with their MC40 mobile computers and broad range of solutions like printers, scanners, and kiosks. A few years ago, they introduced the TC51-HC and quickly followed it up with the evolved TC52-HC.
The TC52-HC is a healthcare-focused unit that offers strong hardware performance and support for modern versions of Android. The device is protected by a rugged exterior that’s built to survive day to day in a nursing unit.
As an enterprise device, the TC52-HC is available with built-in telephony, barcode scanning, robust battery capabilities, and many more features that come in handy in a healthcare setting. Like the other purpose-built Android devices on our list, the TC52-HC is a hardened device that can withstand repeated drops, exposure to liquids, and frequent exposure to healthcare disinfectants.
Improving upon the TC51-HC, the TC52-HC offers an additional microphone, advanced noise cancellation, and a louder speaker to hear and be heard in noisy environments. Its battery is the largest of our recommended devices, and Zebra includes software tools that ensure the battery will last through an entire 12-hour shift.
Why buy it: Long-Term Quality
Zebra and its partner network are well established in healthcare, offering plenty of resources to help your project succeed. Zebra made sure the TC52-HC is backwards compatible with TC51-HC accessories and future-proofed the device through Android 10 and later.
Honorable Mention: TC21-HC
Zebra also recently introduced a new TC21-HC device, targeted at ancillary healthcare workers like environmental services, transport, and food service staff. The TC21-HC offers most of the same features as the TC52-HC in a slightly smaller, more cost-effective package.
Apple iPhone SE2
This device needs no introduction.
As a consumer-grade device, the iPhone delivers leading-edge hardware and software wrapped in a small, sleek package.
Compared to most enterprise-specific devices, an iPhone SE is a low-cost option. However, as a consumer phone, the Apple device will not offer the ruggedness, battery capabilities, native IP telephony, and other enterprise-grade features. Third-party protective sleds and charging solutions are available to make the device hospital ready.
The low cost, form factor, and familiarity of the iPhone make it a good option in the current device market.
Why buy it: iOS
If your organization prefers the Apple mobile operating system, your device choice is clear.
Spectralink has years of experience providing voice handsets that run on hospital wireless networks. After entering the smartphone market in 2014 with the Pivot, Spectralink rolled out the Versity to customers in late 2018.
Looking at the spec sheet, the Versity checks all the boxes for ruggedness, battery, telephony, etc. Its hardware and Android 8 operating system raised the bar in the enterprise device market.
Spectralink emphasizes voice quality with the Versity, leveraging years of wireless handset experience and advanced audio processing software. The device is available with a scanner or without for a sleeker, lower-cost option.
Why buy it: Form Factor
The Versity is slim and light, as close as you will find to a consumer phone in a rugged package.
Another company with deep healthcare experience, Ascom offers the Myco 3 smartphone alongside its wireless telephone and nurse call products. Although the Myco 2 received mixed reviews, the new Ascom Myco 3 (launched in 2019) shows great potential as a nursing device. The five-inch screen, battery, ruggedness, and operating system are all in line with the Zebra and Spectralink devices.
Ascom has followed a more traditional smartphone form factor with the Myco 3, but they have added some creative functional touches. The device includes a removable clip to attach to a waistband or pocket. When worn clipped to scrubs, the top edge features multi-color LEDs that supported apps can use to signal informative notifications. The dedicated barcode scanner is on the rear, rather than the top, so users can see the screen easily while they point the scanner.
The Myco 3 is the newest device on this list. We had great results testing the device in our certification lab, and now we look forward to real-world feedback from our customers.
Why buy it: The Ascom Touch
Health systems already using Ascom nurse call and wireless phones should certainly consider the Myco 3 mobile device, along with any other team that could benefit from its unique ergonomic design.
This is an exciting time as manufacturers continue to bring improved smartphones to the market. PerfectServe is here to share our experience and help you achieve your goals for clinical communication.
If you want more information about nurse mobility, click below to book a call with a clinical communication specialist.