Ninth Annual Spok Survey Reveals Slow Progress for Mobile Infrastructure in Healthcare

450+ healthcare professionals weigh in on the opportunities and challenges associated with mobile devices, security, and infrastructure

Spok, Inc. (@spoktweets), a wholly owned subsidiary of Spok Holdings, Inc. and a leader in healthcare communications, released the results of its ninth annual survey on mobile strategies in healthcare. Respondents included more than 450 healthcare professionals from hospitals and health systems around the country, of whom 38% were clinicians and 21% were IT or telecommunications staff.

In comparing survey responses from 2016 to 2019, respondents reported fewer challenges with mobile infrastructure, though progress has been slow. Wi-Fi coverage remains a top challenge in hospitals, according to almost half (47%) of survey respondents, down from 55% in the 2016 survey. Similarly, 39% reported cellular coverage is still a challenge, a reduction from 46% in 2016.

For the eighth straight year, smartphones are the most commonly used communication tool, in use at 75% of hospitals. Notably, pagers are still a heavily relied on communication device. At 53%, more than half of non-clinical staff—including housekeepers, transport technicians, and dietary staff—use pagers as their primary communication device. When asked which type of devices their organization supports, 75% of respondents selected at least one type of pager. The survey participants also selected the coverage area for paging networks as “excellent” or “good” more often (65%) than any other communication device.

Survey respondents identified the essential functions of communication devices. Almost 80% reported communicating with care team members as essential, followed by delivering real-time clinical information (67%), receiving actionable information such as nurse call alerts (67%), and sending and receiving protected health information (60%). Half also identified sharing information from the EHR as essential.

“As the survey shows, organizations continue to support a variety of devices for their communication needs,” said Vincent D. Kelly, chief executive officer of Spok, Inc. “From smartphones to smartwatches to pagers, the mix of devices confirms the need for a platform solution to unify communication across the organization.”

Those interested in an in-depth look at this year’s survey results can download the full report.

About Spok
Spok, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spok Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Springfield, Va., is proud to be the global leader in critical communications for healthcare, government, public safety, and other industries. We deliver smart, reliable solutions to help protect the health, well-being, and safety of people around the globe. Our customers send over 100 million messages each month through their Spok® solutions, and they rely on Spok for workflow improvement, secure texting, paging services, contact center optimization, and public safety response. When communications matter, Spok delivers.