A substantial portion of my work involves partnering with hospital IT leaders on technology strategies for improving communication. I’m often asked for recommendations on smartphone strategies and vendors.
When I’m asked for recommendations on smartphone strategies and vendors, my instinct is to take a step back and help the customer to first consider the IT services users need.
By IT services, I’m referring to what some might think of as applications and capabilities. For example, voice calling is a service. Secure messaging is a service. So are alert and alarm notifications, accessing patient records, med administration, and hands-free communication.
When we understand what users need, we may realize that a smartphone is not always the right device to support those needs.
When a Hands-Free Device Is a Good Choice
If users need to communicate hands-free, or if they only need voice calling, messaging, and alert and alarm notifications, they’ll do well with a Vocera Smartbadge or Vocera Badge.
Panic Button Protection for Safety
The Smartbadge and Badge are ideal for environments where a wearable panic button feature would strengthen safety.
A federal report found 21 percent of nurses have experienced verbal abuse, physical assault, and even rape. The question becomes, where would a wearable panic button not provide a measure of safety?
You can press the dedicated panic button on the Smartbadge or double-tap the Call button on the Badge to instantly reach security personnel.
How to Choose the Ideal Hands-Free Device
The Vocera Smartbadge is a good choice for clinicians who need to make and receive calls hands-free and send and receive secure messages. It provides a larger display that presents more information including context about the patient, event, and care team.
The Vocera Badge continues to work well for care team members who need to communicate hands-free and require only a small display presenting a concise amount of information.
Choosing a Smartphone Strategy: Three Models
Once you determine which users need smartphones, you’ll need to decide on deployment models. Three common models are shared-use, bring your own device (BYOD), and choose your own device (CYOD).
The shared use model orients toward shift workers who use hospital-owned smartphones in the facility. These phones are typically ruggedized and use healthcare-grade plastics that won’t deteriorate from harsh chemicals.
Shared use phones are easiest to control and maintain because the hospital owns and manages the device, OS, and applications. They’re easy to manage with an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tool because they’re always connected to the enterprise network.
On a related point, hospitals typically deploy the Vocera Smartbadge and Badge in a shared use model. Because these devices have embedded software and firmware, IT doesn’t need to contend with OS and application version management. These devices are easier to maintain and cheaper to own than smartphones.
In a BYOD model, users bring their personal smartphones to work. The most common BYOD users are physicians.
Security and compatibility are the greatest concerns for a hospital that allows BYOD. The hospital has much less control over security and what the user is doing with a personal phone. With BYOD, a wider variety of smartphones are used, making support more challenging.
In a CYOD model, the hospital purchases a smartphone for each user.
Compared to BYOD, CYOD allows more control of the device and IT environment. CYOD is easier to support because it involves standardizing on a limited set of phones. Security risks are lower because devices can be kept up to date. IT can ensure that all CYOD devices have an EMM agent and other tools installed, and apply enterprise-level security.
You Have Choices; Vocera Can Help You
Vocera will support you whether you access our platform using smartphones or hands-free wearables – or a mix of the two, as is the case with most of our customers.
Our account managers and clinical executives can help guide you through the decision process, starting by helping you understand your end users and their needs, and letting that guide your device decisions. No matter your choice, we will be there with you.
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