Deploying Shared Devices for Nurses
Below is a summary of an article published in Becker’s Hospital Review July 9, 2018.1
In a 2018 survey, 72% of respondents reported using a program that provides nurses with devices.
Smartphones equip nurses and other clinical staff with always-available communication and clinical applications that help speed up care delivery. Connected nurses more easily communicate and collaborate with care team members on patient-centered care.
Mobile devices for nurses must be rigorously tested and validated. Purchasing the wrong devices for thousands of team members without testing them in real life can have disastrous consequences. On the other hand, choosing the right devices can launch an integrated delivery network for care team collaboration and quality patient care.
Here is a 10-point checklist of best practices for planning and implementing a mobile device strategy for nursing teams:
1. Consider device usability.
Make sure the devices you put into your nurses’ hands are well received. Form factor, battery life, and performance all play into device acceptance. Any shortcomings can negatively impact adoption.
2. Verify compatibility between the device and your applications.
The most obvious application to consider is the mobile app for your EHR, but there are other apps you should also test. Create a role-by-role application inventory to guide your app testing.
3. Consider the durability of the device in three key areas.
- Drop Endurance: Only consider devices that pass repeated four-foot drops.
- Liquid Tolerance: Whether it be a sink, toilet, or any other liquid landing, care team devices need to survive getting wet to function reliably.
- Sanitization Survival: Good infection control practices require regular device disinfection. How well will the devices handle your facility’s sanitization agents?
4. Test the reliability of the device on your wireless network.
Not all devices seamlessly transition between wireless access points throughout a hospital. As more access points are added to improve coverage, the frequency of network issues may increase, which is one of the most common contributors to device failures.
5. Validate the voice quality of the device.
In most cases, the device is used primarily as a phone. Test the voice quality of the device when paired with your wireless network and PBX.
6. Ensure your device will support a secure operating system.
Note the operating system shipped with the device and future plans for the course of the device’s lifecycle. Specifically, ensure the device will always run an operating system that continues to receive security patches from the vendor. Avoid an end-of-life operating system.
7. Purchase during the first half of the device lifecycle.
Make sure the devices you deploy have enough horsepower to last at least three years. Purchasing devices early in the lifecycle will help maximize usable life. Purchasing too late in the lifecycle leads to performance complaints long before the devices are planned to retire.
8. Plan organizational change for device deployment.
Change can be hard, but a thoughtful plan makes all the difference. Carefully consider your training program, communication plan, and your “change champions” to help evangelize the update.
9. Consider the manageability of the devices.
Use a mobile device management (MDM) solution to deploy and manage your devices. If you don’t currently have one, bundle your MDM decision in with device selection. Do not try to deploy devices enterprise wide without an MDM.
10. Pilot the device in real-world situations.
Proper device evaluation goes beyond hands-on sessions in training rooms. Once you have narrowed your devices down to a short list, test them in the environments in which they will be used. Most clinical users move around a lot. Plan to have care team members in various roles use the devices in their everyday workflows to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Getting your mobile device strategy right is crucial in supporting nurse collaboration with care team members. Connect with one of our clinical communication specialists to talk current recommendations for your nurse devices and related strategies.
To explore how an integrated clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) solution can complete and enhance your device strategy, click below for a PerfectServe demo.
1. Getting it right: 10-point checklist for mobile devices and testing in nursing, Becker’s Hospital Review, 2018: beckershospitalreview.com/quality/getting-it-right-10-point-checklist-for-mobile-devices-and-testing-in-nursing.html