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Bring-your-own device 'improves patient care given by nurses'

A bring-your-own device (BYOD) policy for iPads and similar technology can help nurses deliver better patient care, a US expert has claimed.

If nurses are using their own personal mobile devices in the workplace they are more likely to know their way around them and use the devices to their full potential, said Judith Church, faculty member in the healthcare and healthcare informatics programs at American Sentinel University.

Familiarity with a device can translate into improved patient care, she explained.

Although she was speaking of the US healthcare system, her comments will be of interest to healthcare providers and nurses in the UK and elsewhere.

She believes BYODs have several benefits for nurses, such as leading to a greater sense of a work-life balance and more control over the technological environment, as well as increased productivity and job performance.

“BYOD initiatives should be expanded to include nurses as well as physicians in order to increase nurse productivity and improve patient care and satisfaction,” she said.

The expert was speaking after a recent survey by Fierce Mobile Healthcare shed more light on the ways in which nurses use their own devices while caring for patients.

Nurses questioned in the poll specifically said they use their own devices to improve patient safety and lower the risk of medical errors.

They suggested that their own devices fill a critical communication gap with the technology provided by hospitals, such as enabling them to quickly access clinical reference materials at the point of care or communicate with colleagues.

BYOD systems are not without risks or costs, however, as IT departments are faced with the challenging situation of having to provide support for a range of personal devices.

Readers' comments (8)

  • I'll be these findings will be of interest to healthcare providers in the UK!!! If they aren't in favour they will ban them on Health and Safety grounds, but if they are in agreement then what's not to like (for employers) as they don't have to pay. Are healthcare providers willing to pay for staff to provide their own equipment. What next, nurses paying for patients' drugs out of their own pockets???

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  • I agree, I have medscape on my iPad, plus BNF. As I like calculators with large key pads I have an App for that. A really good App is Sign, it gives guidelines on the management of various conditions. In the old days I always carried a PDA. But since the advent of the iPad, it has been one of my main sources of information.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Aug-2013 1:48 pm

    If health and safety reasons can be found for banning them they would have to look at an awful lot of other pieces of equipment as well.

    One of my experiences as a student, very many moons ago, still sticks with me. in a class on infection control we had to take swabs from various places of our choice on the wards. the largest colonies of bacteria in our study were found to be telephone receivers, earpieces of stethoscopes and bars of soap and flannels. The almost sterile sample was the inside of a folded bed sheet which probably, in those good old days, was adequately laundered at very high temperatures.

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  • This is incredible what planet do these people live in, I already supply a car as I work in the community and get peanuts in mileage reimbursement and recently they have stopped my car allowance payment of £650 per year in favour of an increased mileage allowance. If the NHS require i pads,pods or the like they should be supplying them on the wards and not hard pressed nurses using their own, please bear in mind the paltry wage increses we have had for years and the increase in superannuation deductions, which in effect is a wage cut!!

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  • RE. Anonymous 17 Aug 10.31 am

    I totally understand what you are saying. I to am a community nurse and they have recently stopped our car allowance payment and offered a mileage reimbursement that leaves me hundreds of pounds out of pocket. However, I am rapidly gathering support for a mass grievance against the Trust!!! Unison wouldn't support us, so we are taking matters into our own hands. Why don't you try it too. The more community staff that do this, the better. Trusts will be forced to back down and reimburse staff fairly for providing their own cars. There are Consultants being paid mileage from home to work and being provided with lease cars at a much cheaper rate than those offered to nurses. The system stinks. It's about time nurses and support workers stopped allowing themselves to be walked over. As for providing my own computer or whatever - what planet are they living on!!

    I do hope you start shouting very loudly about the unfair mileage reimbursement.

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  • I hate to say it, but if you bring your own device, such as a tablet which won't fit in your pocket, isn't there a risk of theft.

    I think if staff are expected to use them at work employers should provide them and somehow secure them and any sensitive patient or personnel data against theft.

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  • As a shift co-ordinator in a residential facility, I am constantly discouraging staff from using devices during work hours as they are on Facebook or texting! I can assure you that none of them are using it to improve patient care as these are untrained assistants! I am very interested in what apps people are using in the hospital setting though if anyone can share I would love to see what is available. As for using your own, I do agree that staff could better use them than if they belonged to the ward. Also, in aus we could claim the cost on our tax as a work related expense for apps, and claim depreciation of the device also. Of course, it would only be worth it if you wanted the device in the first place. The other thing is, you wouldn't want the patients thinking you are texting instead of caring for them

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  • BYOD actually makes sense for healthcare. Tablets are the perfect device for nurses, doctors and other caregivers. They can use them to quickly access a patient's hospital records, medical images and medical history.

    Does BYOD come with headaches? Of course it does. However, security issues and IT management headaches (how do I support all those devices?) can be addressed by using new HTML5 technologies that enable users to connect to applications and systems without requiring IT staff to install anything on user devices. For example, Ericom AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables remote users to securely connect from iPads, iPhones and Android devices to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser. This enhances security by keeping the hospital's applications and data separate from the caregiver's personal device.

    Since AccessNow doesn't require any software installation on the end user device – just an HTML5 browser, network connection, URL address and login details - IT staff end up with less support hassles. A nurse that brings in their own device merely opens their HTML5-compatible browser and connects to the URL given them by the IT admin.

    Check out this link for more info:
    http://www.ericom.com/BYOD_Healthcare.asp?URL_ID=708

    Please note that I work for Ericom

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