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Ten years ago if you asked healthcare professionals about their organization’s mobile strategies, you’d most likely get a blank stare. Most physicians and other professionals owned smartphones, but there was little or no organizational buy-in, according to a report published by MediMedia. The exceptional groups — teams, or even small hospitals that were addressing mobile device utilization beyond pagers and cell phones for message services — were rare and often led by technology champions. Healthcare organization use of mobile devices, systems, and services is near universal in the U.S. today, but that doesn’t always mean there’s a comprehensive or documented mobile strategy in place.

Spok, Inc., a Virginia-based digital healthcare communications company, has been surveying the use of mobile devices in the healthcare community since 2011. The most recent report, The Evolution of Mobile Strategies in Healthcare – Survey Results Part 1 has just been released. One of the most dramatic takeaways is the reversal in the numbers of organizations with documented mobility strategies. In 2012, only 34% of the survey respondents said their organizations had a documented mobility strategy, versus 66% who did not. In February 2017, when this survey was taken, 65% percent replied in the affirmative, leaving only 35% without a documented strategy. There was no single functional ownership profile for mobile strategies, although IT departments dominate the planning. Among the survey respondents, 47% reported the organization strategy was primarily a communications initiative. Technology and clinical initiatives each accounted for 24% of the responses and the remaining 5% answered “Other.”

Part 2 of Spok’s report will focus on details including devices used, specific challenges in mobile device usage, and the respondents’ input on the greatest opportunities for improvements for the next three to five years.