Mobile device usage continues to soar as we become increasingly reliant on them. The average person spends over four hours a day on their device talking, texting, scrolling through social media, playing games, watching videos, etc.
So, what does this mean for healthcare organizations? This means that patients are using their mobile devices while waiting at doctors’ offices or upon being admitted into the hospital. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big problem for healthcare organizations. However, there are some serious issues that could decrease the quality of care and patient experience.
In this article, I’ll take you through the four main reasons patients use mobile devices and the three main problems with patient and visitor mobile device usage. And, I’ll give you one easy, quick way to solve these problems.
4 Main Reasons Patients Use Mobile Devices
90% of people “frequently” carry their cell phone with them. That means patients who are waiting for scheduled doctors appointments or who are hospitalized will have their phones with them.
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1. Keeps Patients Entertained
During hospitalization or while waiting for scheduled doctor appointments, patients use their mobile devices for a variety of reasons. But, the main use is for entertainment like keeping up with social media, watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones, or playing Fornite. Of the two-thirds of patients who brought and used one or more mobile devices to the hospital, 79% used their mobile device for entertainment and games.
2. Keeps Patients Connected
Patients waiting to be seen by a doctor are often on their mobile devices checking work emails or answering client calls. Whether in-office wait times are five minutes or 20 minutes, patients are using any window of time to keep up with their work day.
During hospitalization, patients use their phones to keep family and friends informed about their situation. Keeping loved ones up-to-date is important both during health emergencies and throughout their entire hospitalization.
3. Provides Access to Personal Health Records
Mobile devices have increased the channels through which patients access their PHRs. Mobile-ready PHRs give patients instant access to their records during hospital stays. In fact, 48% of patients who brought their mobile device during hospitalization used their device to access their PHRs. Even more, 81% of patients who did access their PHR on their mobile device felt it improved their inpatient experience. Providing patients with access to their PHRs via mobile device during hospitalization allows patients to maintain and manage their health information 24/7.
4. Empowers Patients to Stay Educated
Mobile devices provide patients with a wealth of information at their fingertips, including medical information. In fact, 44% of the patients use their mobile devices to search for information about doctors, conditions, or treatments. Even more, 67% of those patients felt this information made them more confident in their care.
3 Main Problems With Patient and Visitor Mobile Device Usage
95% of Americans own a cell phone. Nearly 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 55% own a tablet device. The rise of cell phone and tablet usage has created new problems in healthcare organizations. Using mobile devices to stay entertained and connected, access PHRs, and keep educated increases patient experience and satisfaction, but it also quickly drains the phone battery.
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Problem #1: Patient and Visitor Devices Need to Be Recharged
Patients bring and use their mobile devices during their visits and hospital stays. In fact, 94% of patients use mobile devices during hospitalization for a wide array of activities like watching videos and movies, playing games, etc. This means their devices will need to be recharged. And, with patients and visitors rarely bringing their chargers, this poses a second problem.
Problem #2: Nurses Have to Assist Patients and Visitors With Dead Phones
Patients and visitors bring their mobile devices but rarely bring their chargers. That means they’re asking nurses to borrow chargers. This takes time away from their shift that they could be focusing on quality care and other critical tasks. Once patients and visitors receive a charger from a nurse, they now have to find an outlet in the room to plug-in. This poses a third problem.
Problem #3: Using Patient Room Outlets is a Safety Risk
Patients and visitors who do bring chargers or receive chargers from nurses often unplug medical devices so they can conveniently recharge their phones. This is a safety risk to the patients and can decrease the quality of care.
What’s the Solution? Mobile Device Charging Stations
There’s good news. The problems with patient and visitor mobile device usage can be easily and quickly solved. Strategically placing mobile device charging stations in patient rooms, waiting areas, clinician lounges, nurses stations, and emergency rooms helps keep your hospital running smoothly and safely. Key advantages of charging stations for healthcare organizations include:
- Increases patient satisfaction and experience by keeping phones charged up
- Improves patient safety by keeping patients and visitors from using outlets designed for medical devices
- Charges multiple devices at one time for increased power efficiency
- Significant cost savings compared to installing new outlets
- Reduces liability of nurses handling patient devices
- Nurses can spend more time focusing on providing quality care, not on assisting with dead phones
Hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and doctor’s offices are all places that can benefit from cell phone charging stations. Leaving patients and visitors with low phone batteries can add an additional stressor in an already stressful situation. Mobile device charging stations alleviate the stress of a dead phone while keeping patients and visitors entertained, informed, and connected.