Healthcare Enterprise Devices Provide Lower TCO than Consumer Devices

Healthcare Enterprise Devices Provide Lower TCO than Consumer Devices

Healthcare mobile devices are the mainstay of the clinician, staff, and patient interaction in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare workplaces. Healthcare providers use this technology to access information quickly from anywhere and stay connected to patients and to one another, which drives efficiencies and improves the speed and quality of patient care.

The healthcare environment demands the highest level of security, efficiency, speed and durability. When healthcare workers have all the data they need in the palm of their hands, they can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time caring for patients. Mobile devices are used for:1

·       Information management. Note-taking, audio recording, photography, ebook access and cloud services.

·       Time management. Appointments, meetings, call recordings.

·       Health record maintenance. Access to electronic records, acc to scans/x-rays, electronic prescribing, billing.

·       Communications. Voice and video calling, messaging, email, video conferencing, social networking.

·       Reference. Medical literature, search portals, drug reference guides, medical news.

·       Patient monitoring. Rehab assessment, heart monitoring, clinical data collection.

·       Medical education & training. Continuous assessment, board exam preparation, case studies, elearning, surgical simulation.

With hundreds of thousands of mobile devices now requiring access to a healthcare network, it is no surprise that mobile data security and HIPAA compliance have become two of the biggest concerns for CIOs, CISOs, Compliance Officers and healthcare IT professionals.2 Healthcare workers need a secure mobility solution they can take with them anywhere, which can be updated on the spot. That device must interface succinctly with point-of-care delivery, documentation and identification functions seamlessly.

When considering mobile devices' acquisition for healthcare, there are three kinds of mobility solutions organizations consider: Consumer Devices, Healthcare Enterprise Devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

Often the discussion centers around the whether to purchase consumer vs. healthcare enterprise mobile devices. Choosing a suitable device for your healthcare setting comes from evaluating a variety of quantifiable variables. The result is a mobile deployment that can increase workforce/workflow productivity, task accuracy, and measurable return on investment (ROI).

As VDC Research explains, not all mobile solutions are equal. "Failing to align the 'right' mobile solutions with the target application or use case can expose organizations to significantly higher cost of ownership. This places a

premium on reliability for business-critical solutions to minimize the disruptive

impact of solution failure and visibility to quickly identify and respond to problems that do arise." 3

Defining the Meaning of TCO for Healthcare

Healthcare leaders are hyper-focused, reducing operating expenses. Healthcare technology decision-makers need to understand the costs and benefits of mobile solutions. Selecting the suitable mobile device for the workflow and the environment in which it will be performed is key to success.

A total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis provides essential insight for aligning the 'right' mobile solutions with the target application or use case. You can genuinely assign value to the mobile device as a solution over the narrow focus at the upfront cost. This reduces the risk of a failed or poorly performing mobile solution that disrupts workflow productivity and increases the overall TCO. 4

Gartner says5, "Ruggedized (enterprise) equipment tends to be significantly more expensive than commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) devices – typically 2.5 to three times more expensive, when comparing list prices. When doing a full total cost of ownership (TCO) calculation, ruggedized equipment often comes out as having a lower or equal TCO, due to its longer life and the use of a single device across multiple (shift) workers. Customers often focus solely on the ability of the device to withstand drops, and, as such, believe that regular devices enclosed in a case, at a lower cost, could suffice. This may be true in some situations, but many other factors need to be considered regarding truly ruggedized devices."

The difference between hard costs and soft costs shows why product comparisons and TCO evaluations should not be based primarily on mobile computer list prices and other hard costs. Soft costs have a much more significant impact on the total cost of ownership than hardware acquisition costs. At Honeywell, we have a front-seat view of the TCO healthcare organizations are experiencing because of the soft costs.  Consider the following VDC:

Consumer devices refresh at 18 months. 6  Consumer-grade devices need refreshing beginning at 18 months, while purpose-built devices start needing to be refreshed at 5-plus years.

Consumer devices fail 2.9 times more often. 6 Mobile computers cost the most, not when they're purchased or replaced, but when they fail. Failure rates of consumer-grade devices are 2.9 times higher than enterprise devices. Causes of failure are far-reaching and include:

·       Hardware-specific failures (dropping the device, water, temperature, vibration). For example, while consumer devices are paying more attention to design features related to IP67, they fall short in areas of drop protection because of the increased use of glass.

·       Software and application failures to network connectivity.

·       Battery performance because 75% of batteries do not last an entire shift, and batteries erode over time and are not be replaceable. Consumer batteries need to be replaced every 14 months compared to 3 to 5 years cycles for enterprise mobile computers. Organizations overcompensate by having a larger than required spare pool of devices and batteries.

·       Environmental conditions such as poor interfacing with a device when using gloved or wet hands, in direct sunlight or extreme temperature and vibration.

Also, the increased failure rate raises the cost of buffer/spare pool stock needed to replace a broken device when one is being fixed.  The greater the device failure rate, the bigger and more expensive buffer is required.

Loss of worker productivity. 6 The most significant contributor to mobile device TCO is the mobile worker's loss of productivity and the time and staff required to support mobile devices. Each device failure results in 60 to 110 minutes in lost worker productivity. Another 40-60 minutes are typically lost in IT support for each mobile solution failure. Soft costs occur because of:

·       Carrier and administrative costs associated Helpdesk and associated tools. Consumer devices generate more calls resulting in overall high charges.

·       Device commissioning time and cost. Some consumer devices can only be commissioned one at a time. Fixing a mobile solution including a software reload averages 87 minutes.

·       Costs of staff and non-staff in the refresh cycle of buying, storing, building, planning, deploying, recovery old kit and disposal.

·       IT staff's inability to remotely update/redeploy software, view or interact with a device, properly diagnose problems, review device logs.

·       The worker continues working with pen and paper until they can access a new device.

Annual TCO is $2000-plus greater for a consumer-grade device. 6 The average annual total cost of ownership—including upfront acquisition, deployment and training costs, support costs, and the cost of downtime—of the purpose-built device is $2,000 to $3,000, depending on the form factor. Consumer-grade devices range from $4,000 to $5,000 depending on form factor. This translates into 42.5% to 60.5% lower for purpose-built enterprise mobile devices.

Recent research by the Aberdeen Group showed that a business with 1,000 mobile devices spends approximately $170,000 more per year to support consumer-grade devices than enterprise-grade devices.7


At Honeywell, we focus on helping you provide high-quality patient care and supporting you in your patient-centered approach. This includes the latest technology that is purpose-built for the clinical environment. Together, with our strong partnerships with healthcare leaders, we're facilitating an ongoing technology evolution and redefining what's possible for healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes. We believe the most innovative technology knows how to stay out of your way, so you can focus on what's most important – delivering the best-in-class care your patients expect.

To learn how to help transform your patient care through the latest technology solutions, contact a Honeywell representative at 800-537-6945.


1The Use of Mobile Devices in Healthcare

2Mobile Data Security and HIPAA Compliance

3 VDC Research Group, Inc. | Enterprise Mobility, "Total Cost of Ownership Models for Line of Business Mobile Solutions," December 2018.

4 VDC Research Group, Inc. | Enterprise Mobility, "Total Cost of Ownership Models for Line of Business Mobile Solutions," December 2018.

5Source: Gartner, Revisit Your Ruggedized Strategy Before You're Hit by the End of OS Support, Leif-Olof Wallin, Stephen Kleynhans, et al., Published 27 March 2017.

6 VDC Research Group, Inc. | Enterprise Mobility, "Total Cost of Ownership Models for Line of Business Mobile Solutions," December 2018.

7 Honeywell. 2019. Preparing for the healthcare challenges tomorrow, today [infographic]. https://www.honeywellaidc.com/solutions/environment/healthcare#.

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.