Productivity and patient care: New research on mobile device programmes in healthcare

New research illuminates the challenges faced by IT, IT security staff, and clinicians in healthcare. The data highlights the need for stronger strategies and more robust mobile capabilities to improve security, user experience, and productivity.

IT, IT security staff, and clinicians lose precious time when forced to deal with mobile device issues, and in the healthcare industry, wasted time has a direct impact on patient care. The Ponemon Institute report, “Unlocking the cost of chaos: The state of enterprise mobility in life- and mission-critical industries” details new research on the overall state of enterprise mobile programmes, as well as the unique experiences of healthcare organisations. Included within are insights from 1,795 IT and IT security practitioners in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and the United States.

Mobile devices in healthcare

Only 40% of healthcare respondents say that their mobile programme delivers a satisfactory user experience. This is of major concern in the healthcare industry, where most mobile users are clinicians. For clinicians, a good user experience is essential for being able to provide high quality patient care. In fact, capabilities related to user experience – such as an optimised EPR experience – are crucial for avoiding or reducing clinician burnout.

Another key to a satisfying user experience is quick access to mobile applications without repetitive, manual authentication – something only 40% of healthcare respondents say their mobile programme offers. Moreover, the ability to quickly access patient information can have life-critical consequences. In this industry, every second counts. Clinicians simply cannot afford to be fumbling with complex passwords to access devices and applications when a patient needs help, quickly.

Healthcare and cybersecurity

Being able to personalise shared devices is important to user experience, but for the sake of cybersecurity, mobile programmes should be equally good at depersonalising devices between each use. Unfortunately, only 32% of healthcare respondents have mobile programmes that can depersonalise devices with minimal time and effort.

Furthermore, only:

  • 44% of respondents say their organisation’s strategy enables secure access to mobile devices without the use of shared pins
  • 40% protect data and privacy by locking down devices between every use
  • 28% feel able to secure devices and access to sensitive and confidential data

If that weren’t enough, 20% of respondents say that their mobile device programme does none of the above. That reality makes it less surprising, but still alarming, that 54% of respondents reported experiencing a data breach stemming from unauthorised access to an employee mobile device.

Lost mobile devices in healthcare

Lost mobile devices levy a high financial toll. The average cost of merely replacing a missing healthcare device is $822. Healthcare organisations spend an annual average of $136,135 on IT help desk support related to lost mobile devices.

Out of the three industries most heavily represented in this report – healthcare, manufacturing, and retail – healthcare experiences the highest average costs related to idle time and diminished productivity due to lost mobile devices, at $719,120 per year. But the ultimate cost soars even higher considering how data breaches are often linked to lost or stolen devices.

Auditing healthcare mobile devices

Auditing is an essential capability for all mobile device programmes. But auditing is more challenging when your organisation uses shared mobile devices. Among the industries surveyed, healthcare respondents find audits the most challenging, with 60% finding it very difficult to audit usage information on shared mobile devices. This is a significant issue, as compliance with healthcare regulations requires detailed audit reports.

Mobile device security in healthcare

All industries handle sensitive data, but healthcare arguably deals with the most – it’s not just businesses at risk, but individuals and their protected health information (PHI). So, it’s unfortunate that only 20% of healthcare respondents believe their mobile device programmes can secure devices and access to sensitive and confidential data. However, when asked more specifically about access, less than half (43%) of healthcare respondents report being highly effective at controlling access to applications and data on shared mobile devices.

With so much sensitive data being handled, it should be no surprise that healthcare spends the most on IT security support, at an average of $750,270 per year. Some good news, though: the healthcare industry also reports the most success at maintaining control over who can access which device, and when, at 55%.

What’s the state of enterprise mobility?

The Ponemon report presents a lot of valuable data and food for thought. We learn that even when healthcare does “the best” in a specific area of mobile device management, less than half of organisations actually meet that level of success. Most healthcare organisations acutely feel the risks enterprise mobile devices present, and clearly need a stronger strategy and more robust capabilities for a greater technology ROI.

Luckily, there are solutions that not only secure mobile devices, but also strengthen and simplify the access, use, and management of mobile devices. And in healthcare, quick, efficient, and secure mobile workflows engender more productivity, greater profits, and superior patient care.

To see the data discussed here and more, download the Ponemon research report today.