While doctors have seemingly embraced both document management and mobility, one study suggests that the technology may not be able to keep up with their innovation. The medical industry may need more advancement from Apple’s iPads before the full benefits of ECM and workflow can be fully utilized remotely. A survey by Spyglass Consulting Group said that while 80% of doctors see the popular tablet as having a promising future in healthcare, they are skeptical that it’s ready for prime time right now. Managing director of the company Gregg Malkary said that “significant software innovation” is needed to help the iPad and other tablets become more integrated within the medical industry.
“What we do know right now is we have leading-edge hardware; we need leading-edge software to complement it,” Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group, said to eWeek. He added that there needs to be gesture-based computing, natural language speech recognition, unified communications and video conferencing.
Other statistics from the survey
Ninety-eight percent of physicians in the survey said they have adopted mobile computing devices to support workflow in both their personal and professional life. These doctors said low costs, ease of use, apps and location-based services were big factors into why the decided to go with the mobile technology.
Even so, Malkary said there needs to be more there.
“As soon as you ask how it’s used in the clinical setting, [doctors] say, ‘Well, we’re not quite right there,’” said Malkary, according to eWeek. “They need to be optimized to run on that platform, and right now, they’re forced to use remote access tools like Citrix or other desktop virtualization tools.”
The survey also found that 75 percent of hospital staff was reluctant or unwilling to support mobile devices due to security and reliability issues, even though many workflow solutions provide greater security and controls than traditional paper storage or computer systems. About 83 percent said their desktops were still the main point from where they were able to access information. With a mobile document management system, these doctors would be able to access information from anywhere with smartphones and tablets.
A survey from June 2010 shows that most doctors use smartphones for the purpose of workflow, business and personal life. About 94 percent of doctors said they used mobile devices for this purpose, which Spyglass said was up from 59 percent in 2006.
“Physician smartphone adoption is occurring more rapidly than with members of the general public,” Malkary said. “Physicians are showing a clear preference for using the Apple iPhone (44 percent) over the RIM BlackBerry (25 percent).”
Adding new pieces of technology for doctors, such as workflow software and document management programs could help move the technology forward in the medical field. The key is to make sure the ECM solution is ready to go mobile, can integrate with existing systems and provides granular security and controls.