Last month, we introduced our readers to our blog series, “Ways Technology is Changing Nursing” where our first installment focused on the impact of Electronic Health Records; in our next installment we’ll be exploring the impact that smartphones and mobile devices have on nurses!

Smartphones and mobile devices have become an integral part in our daily lives to the point where it’s hard to go a day without them. There’s a sense of attachment and convenience, and nurses and healthcare practitioners are not immune to this trend. The increased use of smartphone technology in nursing is quickly taking over outdated telecommunication patterns and limited technological resources in healthcare settings to improve such important aspects of care as diagnoses accuracy, nurse workflows and even patient-provider relations.

With the many advancements in smartphone technology, their popularity and use have increased tremendously over the years. According to a report done by the Pew Research Center, more than 64% of Americans own and use a smartphone on a daily basis; by 2020, the report predicts, more than 80% of the world’s adult population will be on the grid with some sort of smartphone technology. More than simply placing phone calls and texting, connectivity to the online world accounts for much of the rising use of smartphones. Individuals use mobile devices to stay up-to-date with breaking news, engage with friends and family, and maintain different aspects of their personal lives. Smartphones’ power and convenience have even affected the ways in which people approach their personal healthcare. The Pew Research Center reported that 62% of users, have used their smartphones to look up health related concerns, and 61% of hospitals and healthcare systems have stated that their nursing staff and employees use their mobile devices for work related reasons.

There are many types of smart devices, such as tablets and watches, but smartphones have become the device of choice among nurses due to their popularity, compact size and reliability. According to the research presented by the Pew Research Center, registered nurses have stated that the convenience of their smartphones help better their workflow in a fast paced environment such as a hospital. Not only are they able to organize their work days better, but also the retrieval of information has become a simpler task. Nurses no longer have to track down a physician for a simple or routine question when the answer might be found in an app on their phones. In fact, some nurses, depending on what their hospitals allow, use smartphones to connect with one another during hectic shifts.

The increased use of smartphones and mobile devices by nurses have led the way for the development of a number of medical-related apps specifically targeted to nurses. Such applications allow nurses and other healthcare providers to look up information quickly and access secure patient information (like electronic health records) in a more efficient manner by implementing cloud storage that is easily accessible and able to share with others. Access of information combined with the development of smartphone technology in nursing has made viewing patient information and electronic health records, while still maintaining a level of accuracy and security. With app development, and EHR-based app development registered nurses even have the ability to access and effectively view a patient’s x-rays and CT scans while remotely away from a workstation.

Patient-provider relations have been heavily impacted by the increase use of smartphone devices. The workflow of nurses has become more efficient and accurate, which in turn has had a positive impact among interactions with patients. Smartphone technology has also allowed patients to have access to nurses and doctors away from a healthcare setting. Certain applications allow patients to connect with healthcare staff via email, webpage, or even text message.

Many registered nurses have seen the benefits of smartphones and mobile devices in healthcare settings. The integration of smartphone technology in nursing has not only made work life much easier through the use of efficient and accurate medical apps, but such technology has had a positive impact on interactions with patients. With the constant development and accessibility of smartphone technology in nursing, there is no question that the reliance of smartphones by nurses is here to stay.

Originally posted on 23/5/2016

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