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Erin Dietsche

A new survey out of Zebra Technologies found that an expected 97 percent of bedside nurses and 98 percent of physicians will use mobile devices in the hospital setting by 2022.

The Zebra study includes feedback from more than 1,500 nursing managers, IT decision makers and recently hospitalized patients in the United States, Brazil, China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and United Kingdom. All research was conducted in 2017.

Titled Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study, it outlines the benefits of mobile technologies, as well as where the healthcare sector is headed as far as the topic is concerned. And according to the findings, the increasing adoption trend isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Regarding advantages, mobile devices cut back on mistakes. Sixty-one percent of nurses said mobile tech helped reduce medication errors. Fifty-six percent said it diminished specimen collection labeling errors, and 46 percent noted its assistance in reducing preventable medical errors.

Better communication is also a benefit. Sixty-seven percent of nurse managers said improved staff collaboration comes with clinical mobility. Forty-two percent said such devices helped with point-of-care decision-making.

Additionally, 55 percent of hospitals said mobile technology helps reduce the cost of patient care, and 72 percent noted it improves the quality of patient care.

The survey narrowed in on patient opinions as well. The majority of patients expressed a general liking for clinicians using mobile devices in their care, with 77 saying they felt positive about it. Ninety-five percent are willing to share electronic health data from wearables with hospital clinicians. And 37 percent of patients said they brought health monitoring data to the hospital in preparation for a stay.

Looking ahead, respondents predict mobile technologies will become more integrated into the healthcare experience. By 2022, 92 percent of surveyed nurses anticipate being able to access medical and drug databases using a mobile device. By the same time period, 91 percent of nurses expect to access EHRs on mobile devices, and 88 percent anticipate accessing lab diagnostic results on devices.

And it’s not just nurses who will see an increase in mobile technology adoption. According to the survey, 96 percent of pharmacists will use mobile devices by 2022, compared to 42 percent in 2017. Ninety-six percent of lab technicians are expected to use the technology, versus 52 percent last year.

“[T]here is a higher demand for services and support that are not sustainable with existing resources and methods,” the study notes. “Hospitals are increasingly turning to technology and automation to reduce the strain on an already fragile system.”