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February 15

Hospitals across the nation are beginning to embrace mobile technology and implement mobile systems of communication within their organizations. One such hospital is Sarasota Memorial Health Care System who rolled out an iPhone platform for its nurses this summer. The mobile technology allowed for critical care alarms to be sent to nurses and enabled these employees to make voice calls and send and receive text messages. Hospital executives say using iPhones as a medium of communication resulted in nurses' ability to respond to patients faster and reduced the number of overhead pages by 78%.

While it's certainly beneficial that mobile technology provides opportunities for improved operations, it's also vital to realize these efforts provide a unique opportunity to enhance recruitment efforts. If your healthcare organization has adopted new media technologies, it's imperative to include these initiatives while selling and promoting your vacancies to job candidates.

Tout your organization's use of technology. Healthcare employees desire to work for innovative organizations that deploy best in class technology. Candidates are dissuaded from organizations with outdated equipment and lack of materials. It's also important to healthcare employees that they be employed by organizations on the cusp of research and development, providing them with opportunities for training and enhancing their skills. Your organization's use of mobile technology demonstrates it is not afraid to try new things and advance.

Promote your organization's stellar internal communication. Hospitals utilizing mobile technology receive the added benefit of an increase in and improvement in communication. For example, nurses equipped with iPhones and Blackberries are provided two-way communication abilities with their co-workers as opposed to one-way communication inherent to pagers. According to Sarasota Memorial's CIO, Denis Baker, "Studies have shown that nurses often spend up to 70% of their shift dealing with, finding or coordinating information." Mobile technology and social media increases the efficiency of communication with co-workers, patients and patients' families. This enables nurses and healthcare employees to spend more time doing what they enjoy most, attending to patients. Because deploying mobile technology platforms may lessen a nurse's workload by 70%, the number of nurses needed to adequately staff a floor may be decreased, possibly cushioning the blow of the nursing shortage and allowing room in the budget for a potential salary bump for employees.

Sell your organization's superb patient care. Mobile technology certainly can improve the manner in which patients are cared for. Not only do mobile initiatives allow nurses more time for attending, they also ensure the reduction of overhead pages, resulting in a quieter environment for patients to heal. Many iPhone and Blackberry applications exist that are able to house a patient's medical history, track their progress, their medication dosage, etc. The applications help to improve a nurse's performance and accuracy. Nurses and healthcare employees want to work for organizations providing superior patient care — that's most likely why they chose healthcare in the first place.

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