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Consumerization and Technology in Healthcare Report


Introduction

Consumerization refers to the process of using privately owned resources to boost business operations (Burt 31). In the healthcare sector, consumerization involves the use of IT resources, for example, phones, personal computers, and iPads, to carry out healthcare activities and responsibilities. Consumerism is also known as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) program (Burt 30). BYOD programs are becoming popular among companies intending to enhance convenience among employees by allowing the use of mobile gadgets to conduct business activities. Increased utilization of mobile devices among employees has led to the implementation of BYOD policies to exploit integration opportunities among employees without investing in external assets.

A case study of Liberty Health Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey will analyze the use of BYOD programs to enhance clinical communications among care team members.

Implementation of BYOD Program

Liberty Health Jersey City Medical Center is a 300-bed facility in New Jersey. The medical center implemented a mobile-based communication tool in 2013 to enhance communication within the hospital’s care team. The hospital staff wasted 15% of their day tracing other staff rather than taking care of patients (Leventhal par. 3). The time wasted by the medical staff translated to a loss of revenue due to the inefficiency of the care team in service delivery.

The hospital’s surgeons complained of 2 to 4-hour delays between consultations and surgery notifications due to a lack of comprehensive communication channels within the care team. The implementation of the mobile application was aimed at addressing communication lapses and delays among the medical staff. Additionally, the facility wanted to simplify data sharing processes among its medical staff without increasing its expenditure on mobile devices.

The architecture of the application consisted of nine unique apps that allowed users to share patients’ information using personal mobile devices. The implementation process involved Practice Unite, a New jersey-based vendor, and the Jersey City Medical Center. The Practice Unite program satisfies HIPAA standards by securing email and text channels against unauthorized access and compromise through malicious means.

The first stage in the implementation plan was problem identification. Practice Unite conducted interviews on patients and medical staff to identify the causes and extent of communication gaps existing within the hospital’s care team. After identifying the problems, Practice Unite rolled out its applications among physicians and other medical staff in the medical center by providing the care team with access codes to its downloadable app from the internet.

The medical center utilized the Bring Your Own Device program by allowing physicians, clinicians, and clinical staff to download and install the applications in their personal mobile devices. According to the Practice Unite website, the mobile application is customizable and secured according to the HIPAA standards to prevent a breach of privacy and unauthorized sharing of patients’ information.

The medical center allowed its medical staff to use personal gadgets for convenience and to eliminate unnecessary budgets. The hospital’s management allowed interested staff to download the application but implemented control measures using passwords to prevent unauthorized access and distribution of patients’ information (Leventha par. 5). The sustainability plan of the Bring Your Own Device program involves opening up download links for new physicians and other medical staff. Newly recruited medical staff download the mobile apps for their personal devices and then register with their specific departments for access codes.

Security has been one of the major concerns for the health center. However, the center’s chief information officer maintains the application is secure. The center combines a 256-byte encryption program with a 24-hour automatic erasure of patients’ information from personal devices. After one year of implementing the application in the staffs’ personal devices, the medical center reported having made approximately $2 million in savings.

The center attributes the savings to the efficient discharge of medical services by avoiding referral leakages, speeding up response times among team members, and reducing delays by over 15% (Leventha par. 11). Practice Unite provides healthcare facilities with highly customized applications that adapt to specific healthcare needs. At Jersey City Medical Center, the vendor provided a flexible mobile application accessible to all staff through their mobile devices, but centrally regulated to ensure adherence to security standards.

Consumerization in Jersey City Medical Center facilitates timely retrieval of patients’ data from other staffs by creating a centralized and customizable database that allows medical practitioners from different departments to record and share patients’ information. In fact, the facility has been experiencing fewer complaints from patients over delayed responses from the emergency department. Before implementation of the BYOD program, the medical center relied on static and rigid communication channels, most of which passed through call operators.

At the observation center, patients relied on slow and inefficient call processes among care team members as they tried to share lab reports, patients’ history and diagnostics. However, the new program does not use the fixed hospital’s communication system but rather depends on the staffs’ mobile devices, which are fast and flexible.

Consulting physicians collect patients’ information and share with primary physicians using the Practice Unite Apps on their mobile devices. The information is shared among nurses, therapists and nurse practitioners without having to leave physical locations, as it had been the trend before implementing the program. By the time a patient arrives in the observation room, the presiding physician has access to all the patient’s reports and information including lab reports.

Lab reports interfered with practitioners activities, as they had to be transferred physically from labs to relevant departments. However, the BYOD strategy allows lab practitioners to disseminate real-time laboratory feeds using special apps downloaded on their phones.

Before the program began, delays in service delivery caused congestion and eventual referrals to external facilities and physicians. However, the facility has registered annual savings of $120,000 from active participation of physicians in healthcare delivery (Leventha par. 13). The facility’s decision to adopt advanced communication strategies using personal devices has cut expenses by enhancing efficiency and reducing delays from one department to another.

Conclusion

BYOD program exploits the ubiquity of employee resources. Liberty Health Jersey City Medical Center initiated a consumerized program to enhance care team communication and eliminate delays and inefficiency. The hospital’s BYOD program allowed physicians to download and run Practice Unite applications on their mobile phones while centralizing security strategies to protect patients against privacy breach.

The facility’s physicians stopped using the facility’s rigid communication channels to enhance efficiency and speed. The new program connected team members and facilitated transfer of patients’ data from one end to another. Security was enhanced by erasing patients’ data from private gadgets after every 24 hours. The case study demonstrates the effectiveness of BYOD programs since it utilizes the available employee resources without affecting business operations.

Works Cited

Burt, Jeffrey. “BYOD trend pressures corporate networks.” eweek 28.14 (2011): 30-31. Print.

Leventha, Rajiv 2014, How a N.J. Medical Center Has Saved Millions With mHealth Technology. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Consumerization and Technology in Healthcare." November 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/consumerization-and-technology-in-healthcare/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Consumerization and Technology in Healthcare." November 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/consumerization-and-technology-in-healthcare/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Consumerization and Technology in Healthcare'. 25 November.

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