Upward of 70 percent of physicians believe that IT organizations of affiliated hospitals are making inadequate investments to address physician mobile computing and communication requirements at point of care due to limited planned investments, poor mobile electronic health record (EHR) tools and inadequate mobile user support.
The Spyglass Consulting Group survey also found physician smartphone adoption is nearly universal, with 96 percent of physicians interviewed using smartphones as their primary device to support clinical communications.
The report uncovered strong opinions regarding the market opportunities and challenges for adopting mobile solutions to enhance communications and collaboration, streamline physician productivity, improve patient care quality and safety, and increase physician satisfaction.
"Hospital IT is making investments to monitor, manage and support mobile users, and 41 percent of physicians interviewed report affiliated hospitals are making investments in mobile device management [MDM] solutions to monitor, manage and support hospital-owned or personally owned mobile devices on the hospital's network," Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass, told eWEEK.
Malkary explained that MDM solutions enable hospital IT to protect and secure patient data and corporate information stored on mobile devices to reduce the risk of a security breach and ensure compliance with state and federal government regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Survey respondents cited the ease of use and enhanced functionality provided by smartphones compared with outdated communication options provided by hospital IT, including pagers, overhead paging systems, landline phones and fax machines.
"The majority of physicians interviewed expressed frustration with using the EHR to support clinical communications," Malkary said. "EHR is a database designed to capture and retain data that maximizes payer reimbursement, ensures regulatory compliance and protects the organization from liability. It is not a suitable substitute for communication, care coordination and workflow technologies."
Eighty-three percent of the physicians interviewed expressed frustration with using the EHR to support clinical communications due to poor EHR interoperability, limited EHR messaging capabilities and poor usability that makes it difficult to find relevant clinical data. The majority of physicians interviewed report that they lack the financial incentives, tools and processes to support collaborative team-based care.
"Efficient communications and collaboration between physicians, specialists, nurses and care team members is critical to enhance patient safety, and support the coordination and delivery of patient care across health settings," Malkary said. "Despite advancements in mobile devices and unified communications, hospital IT has underinvested in technologies and processes to support physicians and care team members to help eliminate communications bottlenecks, streamline productivity, improve care quality and increase nursing satisfaction."
Content for the report was derived from more than 100 in-depth interviews with physicians working in hospital-based and ambulatory environments nationwide, conducted over a three-month period starting in May 2014 and representative of a range of medical specialties, organization types and organization sizes.
According to data from the American Hospital Association, 59 percent of hospitals have a basic or comprehensive EHR system (quadruple the figure from 2010), but while the majority of hospitals can meet many of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, only 5.8 percent of hospitals are able to meet all of those criteria.