*This blog post was written by Shash Anand, VP of Product Strategy at SOTI, a Zebra Premier Integrated Software Vendor (ISV) Partner.
The global pandemic has increased the need to equip healthcare professionals with mobile technology that enables them to access files remotely and more efficiently execute critical care workflows. Those still relying on old technology systems or – worse – paper and pen processes, are hindered in their patient care capabilities, especially during surge demand periods.
In fact, 71% of U.S. healthcare workers said in a recent SOTI study, Critical Technology for Critical Care: The State of Mobility in Healthcare, that their technology and systems were not prepared to manage any situations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 65% of global front-line workers now demand better technologies.
Greater access to data systems can help clinicians detect patient symptoms earlier, tailor treatments, track progress with greater accuracy and much more. However, that’s assuming that the data records are complete, accurate and continuously updated.
For this to happen, front-line staff must have the right devices in hand and healthcare facilities must have the right systems in place on the backend. These technologies must interface seamlessly with each other so that data remains quickly available to all authorized users and relevant systems.
Healthcare professionals should also be supported by technologies that help increase visibility and access to patients from remote settings. That is why these three technology trends are gaining traction right now:
1. Innovative Mobile Technologies
According to SOTI’s report, between 26% and 39% of healthcare workers confirmed they are still using paper, pens and manual processes – all of which can be time consuming and hinder the patient experience. (The exact stats vary by market.) Less than a quarter said they access general medical information through their mobile devices, while just 18% said they use their devices to access patient-specific data such as test results. This is challenging patient care, as records must be updated in near real time to inform future diagnostic and treatment efforts.
That’s why it is imperative healthcare systems work to replace outdated systems quickly with modern mobile solutions that will allow patient data to be securely shared and accessed by a team of healthcare providers. This, in turn, helps testing centers, doctors and nurses stay aligned from the moment an individual is triaged and tested.
2. Rise of Robotics and Drones
Smart robots are revolutionizing the way many industries operate due to their high level of accuracy, precision, endurance and speed. Supported by an integrated mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) management strategy, robotics solutions are increasingly being used in operating rooms. They are also being used to perform monotonous tasks, such as gathering and transporting medical supplies from one location to the next, and completing routine tasks such as checking vital signs, monitoring a patient’s condition or even drawing blood.
Drone activity has also surged as healthcare professionals seek to provide quick, contactless assistance to patients remotely. In fact, there’s been an increased use of both robots and drones to handle tasks that would normally be performed by people to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Disinfecting: Robots equipped with powerful ultraviolet (UV) lights are sent to disinfect hospital rooms and areas potentially contaminated with COVID-19. UV lights damage the DNA and RNA of harmful viruses, thus preventing their ability to multiply.
- Meal delivery: Robots are being used to deliver daily meals to quarantined patients.
- Medical drones: With pharmacies crowded and laboratories backed up, drones are being sent to either deliver prescriptions and medical supplies or send blood samples to testing facilities. This limits person-to-person contact and helps ensure people in remote or rural areas are properly serviced.
3. Increased Privacy and Security Measures
As mobile devices are increasingly used to help deliver critical healthcare and data sharing across networks continues to climb, the risk of security breaches is an unfortunate reality that healthcare organizations must proactively safeguard against.
According to a global 2020 study, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million USD. The study also found that nearly 40% of the average total cost of a breach accounted for lost business in the form of:
- lost revenue due to system downtime.
- an increase in customer turnover.
- an increased cost of acquiring new business due to diminished reputation.
When looking specifically at the healthcare sector, the study found that the average cost of a data breach more than doubles to $7.13 million USD, equating to the highest average cost for such breaches of any sector.
When you consider the amount of money, sensitive patient data and reputational value at stake, you start to appreciate the size of the problem. Concerns over patient record systems continue to be at an all-time high. SOTI’s research found that 15% do not feel their devices are properly protected against malware and cyberattacks. If you apply this to the number of healthcare professionals there are in the U.S., 2.7 million people are potentially working on an insecure system.
What Does This All Mean?
With the right expertise, the right technology and the right approach to integration, data will enable a transformation of the global healthcare space. The focus must be on getting healthcare professionals the data-driven, security protected mobile technologies needed to efficiently and effectively manage patient care. Additionally, it is vital for healthcare organizations who adopt mobile technologies to properly train front-line and support staff on how to use them. It’s the only way to fully benefit from the more secure, streamlined and convenient experience they offer – for patients and healthcare professionals alike.
Learn more about how mobile devices, robots, drones and healthcare information systems are being used to support front-line healthcare professionals by downloading SOTI’s full report here: Critical Technology for Critical Care: The State of Mobility in Healthcare.
You can also learn more about how SOTI and Zebra are working together to improve the return on investment for your mobile solutions and other technologies here.