The global mobile healthcare (mHealth) market will grow at an astonishing rate over the next few years, according to Transparency Market Research, hitting $10.2 billion by 2018, an almost eight-fold increase over its 2012 value of $1.3 billion.
Rising in tandem with this burgeoning trend is bring-your-own-device (BYOD), a culture which is rapidly gaining traction worldwide. Hardly surprising since BI Intelligence reports 1.4 billion smartphone users in 2013, or 22 per cent of the world's population, up from just 5 per cent in 2009. Tablets, at six per cent global penetration, are growing at an even faster rate.
Small wonder then, as hospitals and healthcare companies ride the massive mHealth wave to efficiency, they will inevitably need to address the increasing demand for BYOD from employees who feel that using their own personal devices allow them to be more productive as it offers them the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want.
Benefits of BYOD
In fact, its adoption into the organisation is to be encouraged. A study by Napier Healthcare found that many clinical services like patient portals, medication management, remote monitoring and registration and scheduling are some of the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to leveraging the power of mobility.
Each of these services offer high reward with low implementation complexity, and all of them can easily be leveraged with personal devices and a prudent BYOD policy. Better still, the accrued benefits can clearly be seen from the perspective of both productivity and cost.
1) Higher Personal Productivity. At the simplest level, because a personal smart device like the iPhone and Android is always on hand, allowing these devices will enable employees to have faster access to their emails and calendars, enabling them to plan their schedules more quickly.
2) Higher Business Productivity. More than just allowing these devices within the work environment, proactively equipping them with medical applications can be a significant boon to productivity in managing Patient's health. With ubiquitous access to relevant information, Doctors, administrators and medical staff can be equally efficient no matter where they are. The removal of physical boundaries will result in a higher level of patient care.
3) Lower Operational Costs. From a practical standpoint, BYOD also means reduced costs to the hospitals. It is a win-win situation because employees want to use their own preferred computing devices, and are willing to spend money to own them. Businesses will not need to cater to the full ownership costs and can offer partial subsidies for approved equipment. Hospitals and clinics will also reap savings from minimal training since employees are already familiar with the operation of their devices.
Caveats to BYOD adoption
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