Point of Care Communications for Nursing

Publication Date:           November 2009
Number of Pages:          98
Number of figures:         34
Report Price:                 $2,495 U.S. Dollars
             enterprise pricing available upon request

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Introduction  (download paper overview)

Point of Care Communications for Nursing presents the findings of
an end-user market study focused on the current state of
communications adoption by nurses across the United States.  The
report uncovers strong opinions regarding the market opportunities and
challenges for adopting solutions at point of care to improve
communications and collaboration, streamline nursing productivity, and
enhance patient care and safety.  

Point of Care Communications for Nursing is an outgrowth of a
similar study published by Spyglass in November 2006 entitled
in Mobile Communications

Content for
Point of Care Communications for Nursing was derived
from more than 100 in-depth interviews with nurses working in acute
care and home health nursing environments nationwide.  Nurses
interviewed were technically competent and representative of a broad
range of nursing specialties, organization types, and organization sizes.

The telephone interviews were conducted over a three-month period
starting in June 2009. The purpose of the interviews was to identify the
needs and requirements for communications at point of care through
discussions about
•        existing workflow inefficiencies in communicating with colleagues
and patients,
•        current usage models for mobile communications devices and
solutions, and
•        barriers for widespread mobile communications adoption.

Spyglass also evaluated key vendor product offerings and identified
early adopter organizations that have successfully deployed these

Target Audience

  • Software and hardware vendors, systems integrators and
    management consulting groups who are selling hardware,
    applications and services into the healthcare industry
  • Healthcare administrators and IT executives who are making
    strategic decision to fund clinical information technology solutions
  • Clinicians who are involved in informatics and clinical system
    evaluation and selection
  • Investment bankers and private equity investors


Mobile communications solutions used at point of care are poised to
revolutionize the way nurses practice and deliver patient care enabling
them to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, physicians,
ancillary workers and patients regardless of their physical location.  

Nurses are the single largest healthcare professional group in the United
States with 2.9 million registered members.  They are mobile
professionals who are constantly on the go working in high-stress, data-
intensive environments dominated by inefficient paper-based
processes.  They have a constant need for direct and immediate
communications with colleagues and patients as well as real-time access
to relevant patient information at point of care.  

Patients are sicker today with more physical and cognitive impairments
than a decade ago.  They require complex medical care involving
multiple medical specialties. With the current nursing shortage, nurses
are taking care of more patients who are staying for shorter periods.  
They are under pressure to coordinate, communicate and document
patient care more effectively across a wider array of care team members.

Nurses are using  a wide variety of mobile devices including pagers, cell
phones, Smartphones, and VoIP phones to improve communications,
streamline productivity and enhance patient care and safety.  

Nursing communications is anything but unified at point of care.  
Hospitals have purchased incompatible departmental systems from
different vendors using different handsets operating over different
wireless frequencies.  Nurses are forced to carry multiple
communications devices to address specific job functions and
responsibilities.  Critical messages, non-critical messages and spam are
frequently interspersed on the same or different devices making it
difficult to filter, manage and prioritize communications from team

Wireless networks not optimized to support nurses at point of
 Networks were poorly designed resulting in coverage gaps,
wireless interference, and overloaded access points.  Frequent dropped
data and voice connections make it difficult for nurses to document
patient care at the bedside or use VoIP handsets to communicate with
team members.

Hospitals are investing in point of care communications BUT
deployments are limited.
 Cost considerations have focused
deployments on specific hospital departments and limited distribution of
VoIP handsets to key nursing personnel.  

VoIP communications can be disruptive at point of care for nurses
receiving incoming calls from team members while performing a patient
procedure or treatment.  Interrupting a nurse’s train of thought can
easily introduce medical errors into the patient care process.

Point of care deployments require nursing involvement during the
design phases of an IT project.  Hospital IT must collaborate with nursing
staff to understand existing workflow inefficiencies and how wireless
communications and mobile computing technology can be used to
support new and existing processes at point of care.
Spyglass Consulting Group
Market Intelligence for Competitive Advantage