Mobile Technology & Healthcare Organizations: What’s Your Policy?

Since it’s recently been reported that 68% of healthcare organizations have a policy on mobile technology usage, you might want to know if your organization is up to speed (via the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society). In the HIMSS survey, 27% were said to be currently developing a policy on the use of mobile technology, while a paltry 4% had no plans to create a policy and 2% answered “other/don’t know.”

So, where does that leave your organization? One obvious conclusion is the vast majority (95%) either already have or are working on policies for mobile tech. If you’re not in this group, make sure you check with your CIO so you don’t find yourself at a competitive (not to mention security) disadvantage should you need such a policy. If your organization is among the 1 out of every 4 who are creating a policy, make sure you pay extra attention to mobile device security, predicted to be one of the top 10 issues in the healthcare industry this year (via PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Those 27% in the middle of making mobile policies might want to refer their CIO or IT director to Cheryl D. Parker’s 4 steps to successful mobile implementation in hospitals or Sabrina Rodak’s best practices for hospitals managing mobile devices, one part of which is devoted to policies.

Another issue with mobile in healthcare is that of caregiver distractions, which made another top 10 list: ECRI Institute’s technology hazards for 2013. The heightened awareness of the popularity of mobile device usage on the job already has some health systems and provider associations creating policies to minimize distractions and the personal use of social media networking or other mobile communications.

Parallel with or often inclusive of the policies on mobile tech are policies on social media. Physicians are using social media; is your hospital setting clear standards on professional usage? Fathom regularly sees hospitals with rogue Facebook accounts or lost Google Analytics passwords … and inconsistent or uncontrolled digital marketing where social media potentially plays a large role. These hospitals beg for comprehensive social/mobile policies and strategic marketing plans.

Is yours one of them?


Check out Fathom’s detailed study of social media usage in the top 25 hospitals. Benchmark your own system’s social media situation and get other ideas to build your online presence and reach more potential patients, current patients and caregivers.

Social Media in the Healthcare Industry


B/w image courtesy of Juhan Sonin via Flickr.

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