Network health puts sector off mobile working

Healthcare organisations are embracing mobile working like never before, but the issue around network coverage is causing concern

Healthcare organisations are embracing mobile working like never before, but the issue around network coverage is causing concern.

A new study from software company NDL showed projects to test out the validity of mobile working were moving from pilot to full roll-out, with 40% now involving more than 250 staff and 20% now used by over 500 employees.

Users on the schemes also celebrated the effects mobile working had had, with 73% citing "increased efficiency" and 70% also naming "reduced administration" and "improved service delivery" as benefits.

However, the most common failure of mobile projects was network quality. Half of the users said it was an issue, with 52% saying mobile networks were either “not fit for purpose” or “patchy.” Last year, this was cited by fewer users – 49%.

The number of healthcare professionals reporting the network as “always on with high–speed connectivity” changed even more dramatically, from 17% last year to just 6% in 2012, showing as the projects grow, so does the issue of network quality.    

Declan Grogan, managing director of NDL, said these figures underlined how important quality mobile networks were and what a change 4G could bring to mobile working as it begins its roll-out.

“We appear to be at a cross roads in mobile working within the healthcare sector,” Grogan said. “On the one hand, growth seems almost inevitable, given the ‘push’ factor of cost cutting and the ‘pull’ factor of a growing body of evidence supporting mobile working.

“However, this confidence must be balanced against organisations which appear to be struggling to manage cultural change and the technological challenges presented by the data network. We expect these two factors to be key in determining the rapidity and ease of mobile working take-up over the next couple of years."

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