Shared Smart Devices 2020: The Latest Updates

Technology is an ever-shifting landscape in the world of healthcare, with new innovations and functions popping up every year. We at KLAS like to keep people informed on which directions things are going. To that end, we have released a new report that dives into shared smart devices in hospitals and how their updated technologies and designs are shaping workflows. In this report, we look at specific feedback on three of the most commonly used device manufacturers: Apple, Vocera, and Zebra Technologies. We also included perspectives on why lesser-used vendors, such as Ascom, Samsung, and Spectralink, were or were not considered in recent decisions.

The Ghost of Devices Past

KLAS previously did a report on shared smart devices in 2018 that focused on the first attempts to use smart devices in hospitals. At that time, there were some major struggles around deploying those devices, provisioning them, and maintaining their ongoing use. Those older devices had a plethora of problems that needed to get resolved, ranging from challenges with connectivity and call quality to issues with durability and battery life. KLAS highlighted those issues and documented them in the last report. It has been about two and a half years since that report, and we wanted to see whether things had progressed in the next generation. Have the vendors solved some of those problems? How well is the next generation of shared smart devices performing?

A Promising Present

The news is good. Shared smart devices have moved forward by leaps and bounds. Vendors have addressed a lot of the concerns that we heard during the creation of our initial report. We have seen the overall durability of several devices increase, while vendors such as Zebra Technologies have dropped a lot of the bulkiness that was so common in the first generation. Several unique capabilities have come up since our last report, ranging from Zebra Technologies’ batteries that you can swap while the device is still on to the robust push-to-talk function of Vocera’s solution. In addition, these devices are now much more suited to healthcare and have a much wider array of uses in the hospital workflows. In some instances, Apple device users are completely replacing nurse tool belts and carts by virtue of having everything in one device. These advances have given many nurses flexibility as they don’t need to carry around a veritable toolshed with them at all times.

A Bright Future

As we see more and more technologies progress and advance, we can’t help but look to the future once more to see what is coming. While it is still early to judge the adoption of shared smart devices at this point, the improved workflows and satisfied nurses show a promising future for the technology. Having a wide library of applications and functions available to providers opens up a world of possibilities, and KLAS will be sure to continue taking these snapshots of the market to show providers everywhere just how the technology is progressing. For more detailed information on these devices, vendors, and outcomes, check out our Shared Smart Devices 2020 report.



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