The Number of Nurses Using Tablets is on the Rise

August 4, 2015
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Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, given the prominent role technology plays within their industry, but nurses as a group have fully embraced tablets and smartphones. Nearly eight out of 10 nurses own a smartphone, with six out of 10 also owning a tablet or e-book. Research and user surveys show that nurses use these devices not just in their off-time, but for professional reasons as well, including continuing education, administrative tasks, and patient care.

 

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, given the prominent role technology plays within their industry, but nurses as a group have fully embraced tablets and smartphones. Nearly eight out of 10 nurses own a smartphone, with six out of 10 also owning a tablet or e-book. Research and user surveys show that nurses use these devices not just in their off-time, but for professional reasons as well, including continuing education, administrative tasks, and patient care.

 

Though the benefits of such adoption may not be immediately evident, tablets and smartphones are slowly transforming the healthcare industry by improving the patient experience, eliminating wasteful and inefficient practices, and allowing for more effective treatment and patient documentation. The impact that technology can have on healthcare providers and patients alike should not be underestimated. Ultimately, smartphones and tablets can aid nurses and doctors in achieving better results on behalf of their patients.

Providing More Efficient and Effective Care

Advanced mobile technology, like the Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, have made today’s tablets and smartphones incredibly capable devices. This means they are, increasingly, being treated as professional and robust tools – rather than mere novelties or personal communication devices. The latest tablets from Sony, Samsung, and Apple feature incredible graphics and powerful mobile processors that give them tremendous computing ability. As a result, running medical applications and supporting industry software on the go is now a possibility.

 

This improved hardware capability has already had numerous benefits within the industry. Tablets and smartphones enable improved patient monitoring and data collection, the creation and analysis of in-depth operation and patient reports, appointment scheduling and notification reminders, fast and timely prescription of medicines, quick retrieval and access to information, live communication (including video conferencing), and improved patient records keeping and security. Because tablets are mobile, they become part of the treatment process – unlike computers, which generally are relegated to use after a patient has already been seen.

Improving the Patient Experience

Tablets and electronic health records (EHR) improve the patient experience in a number of ways. As discussed above, by being part of the treatment experience, tablets can help expedite treatment, ensure more accurate records keeping, provide for live telecommunications with off-site providers (bringing a human touch into the equation), and enable much faster sign-in and patient input. The touch-screen interface of tablets also enables patients and healthcare providers alike to intuitively type in information (or in some cases, even dictate by voice), rather than writing things out the old-fashioned way. Everything about the treatment process, from sign-in to the treatment itself, can be made that much easier with mobile devices. Though such improvements may not make treatment outright enjoyable, they can at least make it more bearable.

 

It’s worth noting that this new way of interacting with the device – via touchscreen and dictation – has an added benefit, in that it drastically reduces the paper trail that is a part of all patient records. Information retrieval is not only made much faster when records are completely digitized, but it is easier to share a patient’s record with other healthcare providers, and many of the risks and errors associated with paper records – such as misspellings, lost records, illegible records, storage, and physical distribution – can be avoided entirely. This new adherence to electronic health records, made possible in part to mobile devices, is cost-effective, convenient, and enables better records keeping. On a more fundamental level, it’s good for the patient as well.

Expect to See Tablets Everywhere – And Soon

Ideally, you won’t be visiting the hospital frequently enough to notice the difference. But if for any reason you do have reason to go to the hospital on a recurring basis, expect tablets to have a much more prominent presence going forward. This is because they are convenient, mobile, powerful, and intuitive tools, that can facilitate improved processes in nearly every step of the treatment phase. This includes administration duties, records keeping, pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment. Computers have long been a part of the healthcare industry; tablets simply provide the same functionalities (and in some cases, greater functionality) while on the move.