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Secure Mobile Communication Market in Healthcare Industry

  • July 2014
  • 22 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2241894


Table of Contents

Supporting New Healthcare Delivery Models

This Frost & Sullivan market insight presents an overview of the secure mobile communication solutions used in the United States healthcare facilities. It highlights the key success factors for secure mobile communication solution providers, and provides strategic recommendations for hospitals that want to implement a secure mobile communication solution. The base year of this market insight is 2013 and the forecast period ranges from 2014 to 2018.

Introduction and Overview
This Frost & Sullivan market insight presents an overview of the secure mobile communication solutions used in the US healthcare facilities. It highlights the key success factors for secure mobile communication solution providers, and provides strategic recommendations for hospitals that want to implement a secure mobile communication solution. Throughout this insight, “secure mobile communication solution” implies a smartphone-based mobile communication solution that allows secure voice, text, images, and video-based communication between staff members in the hospital, and can also support information exchange between hospital IT systems and smartphones.

Secure Mobile Communication in Healthcare
Most of the organizations in the United States support some form of managed mobility deployments. Popular enterprise mobile applications in the United States include:
- Company operations and productivity applications – including file-sync and share, CRM apps such as Salesforce.com, and expense reporting applications such as Concur)
- Communication and collaboration applications – including WebEx, and ShareFile
- Enterprise messaging applications – including enterprise “social networks”, and chat programs.

However, much of the healthcare industry still conducts business by using older systems – including pagers and paper-based written records. Using inefficient systems and processes for care coordination and other important functions in hospitals can negatively impact patient safety, delay patient care and result in operational inefficiencies. There is a clear need for advanced data management and communication systems that can address existing communication challenges in hospitals. Today’s mobile computing platforms present a powerful set of technical capabilities that, if leveraged properly, can help improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations of literally any type of organization. Realizing this, many hospitals have already implemented secure mobile communication solutions for mission-critical communication requirements. Changes in Federal Healthcare regulation/guidelines that incentivize healthcare facilities to deliver improved patient care, facilitate better patient data sharing, and focus on improving the patient satisfaction levels are also helping drive a shift towards open, extensible, interoperable, and “mobile-compatible” digital platforms in the United States.

Secure Mobile Communication—Telecommunication Trends
A smaller form factor, remote device management capabilities, and secure voice and data communication abilities of smartphones provide the essential ingredients for supporting a wide range of use cases in hospitals – including care coordination, physician alerts, and patient engagement. This is not to say that personal smartphones can simply be brought into hospitals and used “as is”; a significant amount of customization, integration, and security enhancements are still required to make smartphones work in hospital environments. This is where secure mobile communication solution providers come in. Secure mobile communication solution providers use on-premise or cloud-based platforms to deliver a customized (and secure) voice and/or data communication service that can help hospitals improve clinical workflow, and ultimately deliver better patient care at a lower cost. Some key telecommunication trends that are driving smartphone adoption in hospitals include:

- Bring-your-own-device (BYOD): Mobile has transformed the way business is done today. An increasing number of US businesses are deploying mobile software applications for use by their workers. A similar trend is starting to appear in the healthcare vertical as well, where the physician and the nursing staff are increasingly demanding access to work-related IT applications on their personal mobile devices. As a result, hospitals are exploring ways to provide their workforce with secure mobile access on their personal mobile devices.

- Increased device capabilities: The current generation of smartphones support advanced data protection mechanisms including device and application-level virtual private networks (VPNs), and support for digital certificates. These technologies can be used to comply with the strict data privacy requirements of hospitals.
- Multiple data connectivity options: Solution providers can leverage messaging, email, and other IP-based data channels for deploying secure mobile communication solutions. This helps to mobilize multiple types of clinical data sets in a format most suited for the recipient device.

- Availability of robust and secure on-premise and cloud services: On-premise deployments are popular in hospitals. However, cloud-based platforms have made strong inroads in this industry and their adoption is expected to increase in the next 5 years. Research indicates that it is not only the size of the organization that decides if an organization chooses an on-premise or a cloud-based platform. Factors such as ease of implementation, total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI), and product capabilities play an important role in this decision. Therefore, product capabilities, and cost of implementation and total cost of ownership are important considerations as well.

Secure Mobile Communication—Demand Drivers
The key demand drivers for smartphone adoption in hospitals include:
- Need for addressing communication inefficiencies: By allowing information to be pushed to the responsible or designated staff member in the hospital, smartphones can address many of the existing communication challenges in the US hospitals. For example, workers in a hospital don’t have to spend time on unproductive activities (such as walking down the hospital hallways to get in touch with the attending physician). They can use a smartphone solution to call or send a message to the physician in charge. Similarly, critical lab results could be sent via secure messages to the on-call physician, who can then respond appropriately. A simple use case such as being able to communicate with designated staff members quickly can collectively save hundreds of thousands of minutes for a single, large hospital every year. This speaks volumes about the potential of secure mobile communication solutions.

- Federal mandates: Federal directives encourage hospitals to adopt advanced IT systems and technologies for improving the care experience. For instance, the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. As stated on the federal government website, cms.gov, to receive an EHR incentive payment, eligible providers must prove that they are “meaningfully using” their certified EHR technology by meeting certain measurement thresholds that range from recording patient information as structured data, to exchanging summary care records. These developments have led to an increased adoption of digital healthcare IT platforms. An open, extensible architecture of these healthcare platforms presents new opportunities to integrate with mobile systems. In other words, mobile has emerged as a natural extension of the new generation of healthcare systems and IT platforms that are in various stages of implementation in the US healthcare facilities.

- Emergence of performance-based and success-linked models in healthcare: The emergence of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model makes it important to ensure quality, appropriateness and efficiency of healthcare provided to patients across the full continuum of care. Numerous studies have identified communication inefficiencies, and lack of proper data sharing as the major hurdles in offering a truly customer or patient-centric service delivery model. The healthcare industry is already moving in the right direction by adopting EMRs, and other standards-based data records management platforms—all of which can be integrated with smartphones. A shift to a mobile-centric communication framework is expected to take some time as many of these complicated back-end systems cannot be simply “screen scraped” for mobile rendering.

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