There are plenty of worthwhile opportunities for ISVs to develop healthcare mobility software solutions —but you have to look beyond voice and text messaging-based solutions. Chris Sullivan, Global Healthcare Practice Lead for Zebra Technologies says it is a good time to be involved in healthcare mobility, if you choose the products you develop wisely.
According to Zebra’s “Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study,” clinical mobility is becoming the standard for patient care. The study concludes that by 2022, healthcare mobility will reach 98% adoption among healthcare providers.
Sullivan says the first mobility application for healthcare in the U.S. has been secure text and voice communication. The field of solutions for that use case, however, has become saturated, with some companies now providing solutions at no cost. But mobility use in healthcare is rapidly expanding beyond basic communication.
In his interview with DevPro Journal, Sullivan listed ten opportunities for ISVs to provide innovative mobility solutions for the healthcare industry:
- Care Team Collaboration (CTC): CTC solutions must provide team members with real-time information, distributed in a prioritized manner and confirming that critical personnel are notified. These solutions require interoperability with health information systems as well as secure, reliable communication.
- Interoperability with medical devices: Another prime area of opportunity for ISVs is interoperability between medical devices and mobile devices. Solutions that provide medical device data and remote patient monitoring, are in demand.
- Analytics and real-time patient data: Sullivan comments that clinicians can be inundated with data. The most valuable solutions ISVs can provide will analyze data, minimize the number of alerts doctors and nurses receive to curb alarm fatigue, and provide next steps to optimize workflows and the best use of resources.
- Internet of Things (IoT) and
- Real-time location solutions (RTLS): These in-demand applications closely related to mobility can improve patient care and monitoring and can make workflows more efficient.
- Support for Value-Based Care: Understanding the regulations and requirements of the healthcare industry can give you an edge when developing healthcare mobility solutions. As healthcare transitions to a value-based care model, in which providers are paid based on patient outcomes, Sullivan says that solutions that support this model and help healthcare providers show ROI will do well in this market.
- UDI tracking: It’s important to understand the challenges healthcare organizations face when trying to comply with regulations and meet standards. For example, a solution that automates management of unique device identifier (UDI) tracking requirements would save time, streamline workflows and help a healthcare facility stay in compliance.
- Security and privacy: Sullivan points out that the demand for healthcare mobility solutions isn’t only coming from healthcare clinicians. IT departments are looking for solutions to the challenges they face with mobility. “Mobile devices on the edge are a risk for security breaches,” says Sullivan. Solutions that maintain security and patient privacy are vital, especially considering many hospitals still use consumer devices for mobility applications.
- Device management: Healthcare IT departments are also looking for better device management solutions. “A single hospital can have 2,000 or 3,000 devices. A healthcare system may have 15,000 or 20,000. They need to be able to manage them remotely,” Sullivan comments.
- Consultative services: Sullivan adds that another opportunity for ISVs is providing consultative services related to software. He points out many healthcare administrators aren’t digital natives, and may need assistance understanding and building systems that work. “Software companies that can help will raise their value,” says Sullivan.
What ISVs Need to Know About Mobility Hardware for Healthcare
Healthcare mobility devices in use today range from consumer smartphones to enterprise-grade mobile computers. “The industry is still learning. A lot of healthcare systems began using personal devices for mobility applications, and then found ways to support them. A lot of consumer devices are established in healthcare applications,” Sullivan explains. He advises developing solutions that work on all mobile platforms: “Think mobile, not desktop, and think Android, not just iOS.”
When choosing a hardware partner to certify for your solutions, Sullivan advises working with a vendor that designs products specifically for this industry. Healthcare clinicians require devices with 2D barcode scanning capabilities and extended battery life. Devices also need to be constructed from healthcare-grade plastics that help control the spread of bacteria and stand up to frequent cleaning with disinfectants. He also says to ensure devices can withstand a harsh clinical environment. “Durability is an economic issue. If a healthcare facility doesn’t invest in durable devices, they wind up replacing them, and it becomes an unplanned expense,” Sullivan comments.
Leverage Your Partnerships
Working with partners that have dedicated, experienced healthcare teams and established ISV partner programs, such as Zebra Technologies, can provide you with valuable information on the healthcare industry and help you determine the features of healthcare mobility solutions that are most valuable.
Mobility is established in healthcare, but the industry is just beginning to understand the breadth of applications that are possible. Seize the opportunity to develop the innovative solutions the industry is looking for.
Chris Sullivan is Global Healthcare Practice Lead for Zebra Technologies. He has more than 20 years of healthcare industry leadership experience in strategy, marketing, and sales, with industry expertise in clinical mobility, patient care and safety, location solutions/RTLS, workflow trends, Enterprise Asset Intelligence, and legislation and policy.