Why Healthcare Needs Purpose-built Enterprise Mobile Devices

Why Healthcare Needs Purpose-built Enterprise Mobile Devices

When evaluating mobile devices for your healthcare staff, there are many factors to consider. Selecting the wrong device can frustrate users, decrease productivity, increase costs, and cause safety risks. When choosing the suitable device, you can maximize workforce productivity, task accuracy and a higher return on investment (ROI).

For a mobile solution to meet all clinicians' needs, the device must work 24/7. Dropped calls and taking a device out of commission for repairs or recharge a battery can lead to delays, costly mistakes and miscommunication. All of these scenarios frustrate clinicians and affect patient care.

On the surface, consumer-grade devices can appear like the best choice for reasons such as

·       End users are familiar with how the devices work.

·       The devices have a small form factor making them easy to carry.

·       The cost of the consumer-grade device is considered inexpensive.

Consumer-grade devices are designed for single-user, slow-moving applications like texting, making phone calls, and accessing social media, music, movies and games. When you put those devices into healthcare environment workflows, the consumer-grade devices must be able to withstand enterprise-level performance standards such as security, drops, bumps, tosses, extreme heat and cold, multiple users, exposure to hospital-grade cleaners and more. 

Based on the Enterprise Mobile Device Solutions report, 4 out of 10 respondents reported experiencing unmet needs with their current mobility solutions.1 Many of those surveyed use consumer-grade smartphones (61%) and tablets (51%).

The disadvantages of the consumer-grade devices are revealed when compared to healthcare enterprise-grade devices specifically designed for the healthcare environment. These differences should be carefully evaluated by hospital decision-makers when selecting the suitable, best-in-class device to help improve staff productivity, communication and enhance the patient experience. Let's consider just a few of those differences:

Platform design. Unlike consumer-grade mobile computer designed for the individual consumer, purpose-built healthcare computers give the healthcare facility a secure mobility solution.

Honeywell believes that customers invest in solutions, not devices. Toward that end, we work with our healthcare customers to understand the business objectives and assemble complete solutions to solve those problems. This not only means building innovative and powerful computers but also includes:

·       Purpose-built enterprise design that optimizes the user experience.

·       Accessory systems that are optimized for the use case, easy to use, with forward and backward compatibility.

·       Platform software that provides continuous and robust compatibility, security and support for the life of the product.

·       Honeywell deployment tools that accelerate time-to-value.

·       Relationships with independent software providers that provide critical apps to complete customer solution sets.

Honeywell recognized that industries like healthcare wanted a unified hardware and software platform for all form factors that allowed for rapid deployments, robust performance, and adaptability to changing needs. We completely innovated our approach to meeting the challenges of supporting a mobile workforce, and Mobility Edge was the answer.

Honeywell's Mobility Edge™ delivers an innovative solution to these challenges.

Mobility Edge offers an integrated, repeatable, scalable approach to device management that is based on a common hardware and software platform. Designed for Android™, it delivers a unified platform on which all software solutions are based. Healthcare can develop and deploy faster while reducing development costs. This unified, dynamic platform for mobile computing is designed to:

•      Accelerate Deployments. Validate once. Deploy everywhere. Faster, easier, and at lower cost. Enabling versatile out-of-the-box capabilities and a rapid provisioning suite, Mobility Edge expedites development, certification, setup, and training involving multiple form factors at once.

•      Optimize Business Performance. Boost productivity and drive efficiency. Powerful, embedded tools across the platform drive faster data capture and secure, enhanced worker communications. The unified, intuitive experience facilitates user adoption and helps employees complete vital tasks.

•      Extend Lifecycle. Forward compatible. Future-proof. Mobility Edge reduces TCO and minimizes headaches with an enterprise-wide approach to maintenance releases and hardware designed to support ongoing upgrades to the operating system through Android 13 and extended support five years beyond that.

•      Strengthen Security. Mobility Edge™ provides a unified, dynamic hardware-and-software platform with built-in security and the best available future security made possible through Android forward compatibly.

By providing a unified hardware and software platform with an agile approach, we can bring you more secure and reliable solutions across your operation.

The common platform provides for the efficient reuse of IT investment across multiple form factors both across the present fleet and over the future roadmap.  It is accompanied by a common deployment toolset that speeds time-to-value and the Operational Intelligence cloud optimization and management platform that provides visibility into device location, condition and full-life maintenance history. All of the devices are supported by popular MDM solutions as well.

And they maximize your ROI by extending the lifecycle of your devices.

Build-in scan engine. Scanning is a critical aspect of healthcare and is used to identify patients, medication, and specimens more accurately.

A consumer-grade device may need to use the phone's camera or a separately installed scanning application. Neither of these options matches the speed and accuracy of a built-in barcode scanner.

The built-in scan engine of enterprise mobile devices includes purpose-built 2D imagers that can quickly and accurately read 1D and 2D barcodes on virtually any medium – vials, syringes, IV bags, patient wristbands, and more. And you have a high-resolution camera that lets you quickly document images to aid inpatient care. Eliminate the need to be tethered to a corded scanner.

Rugged scanners standup to the high-volume applications inside and external to the hospital (e.g., drive-through testing). The faster the barcode scan, the more time saved on this repetitive, mundane task, which positively impacts productivity and the clinician experience.

Power management. For any clinician providing patient care, the mobile device must have battery power that lasts and exceeds an entire shift without risking interruption. Consumer-grade mobile device batteries usually do not last a full shift in the healthcare environment. The batteries are known to have erosion issues over time and are usually not replaceable.

Medical enterprise devices are geared toward the healthcare worker shifts that can exceed 12+ hours. Integrated peripherals also make more efficient use of battery power, a critical success factor in any mobile computing application. Wireless communications, barcode scanning and portable printing all place an additional burden on batteries. Mobile devices designed for these activities have power management advantages that can help ensure batteries will last the length of the shift, even when peripherals are heavily used. Recharge time is an important consideration.

Healthcare-grade protective housing. Healthcare workers take mobile devices from station-to-station, room-to-room, patient-to-patient and can be exposed to infections. The device may also come into contact with numerous fluids and pathogens – from bodily fluids to chemicals to viruses and bacteria. Devices need to be designed with healthcare-grade disinfectant-ready materials that help protect your patients from cross-infection.

Healthcare-grade devices, like the Honeywell CT40 HC, include disinfectant-ready housings (DHR). Disinfectant-ready housing and connectors are specifically designed to withstand frequent exposure to cleaning solutions recommended for the healthcare industry. Honeywell was one of the first manufacturers to introduce DRH to the healthcare market and provided these devices to hospitals and healthcare providers for over a decade.

Consumer-grade mobile devices were created with the consumer in mind. They were not built for the healthcare environments, and use cases, such as regular disinfect cleaning multiple times a day.  These housings are traditionally made of non-disinfectant-ready amorphous PC/ABS plastics because they can be easily manufactured. Housings made of PC/ABS comprise a loosely packed structure that makes it easier for chemicals to penetrate the plastic. Repeated use of chemical cleansers may cause discoloration, swelling, hardening and cracking of rubber and certain plastics after prolonged and repeated use. Cracks can also lead to hardware failure, which increases the total cost of ownership by increasing downtime and repair/replacement costs. As a result, life expectancy tends to be shorter.

Healthcare communications. Whether you need a push-to-talk feature for nurses or the ability to take a call from the PBX, healthcare workers need a device that provides excellent voice and video calling, messaging, email, video conferencing 100% of the time.

Consumer-grade devices are not configured for highly dense buildings and remote areas. This can be the cause of dropped calls, poor voice and video quality during patient care.

Honeywell provides an all-in-one mobile device communication solution with Honeywell Smart Talk for Healthcare Communications. Honeywell Smart Talk is a true voice-enabled unified workforce communications application for healthcare organizations that tackles fragmented communications. You receive enterprise-grade security for voice calling, text and media messaging, and user presence.  Smart Talk can be added to Honeywell CT40 HC Mobile Computer or most mobile devices healthcare clinicians and staff carry. Device-enabled clinicians are always connected and able to access critical patient information – from bedside point of care, to the pharmacy, to alert the emergency staff and everywhere in-between.

You enable smarter communications for the entire hospital operations team from a single mobile device. One device to manage and maintain. One device replacing the need to support and buy consumer mobile phones. With a constant and instant connection, the enabled device allows hospital staff to have the tools and information they need to deliver an exceptional patient care experience.

Durability and ease of use. How durable is the consumer-grade vs. medical-grade mobile device? Many consumer device manufacturers will use terms like“rugged," "waterproof," and "water-resistant". What constitutes a "rugged" device? And just how many times can you drop your mobile device in the water before you can expect it to fail? How many times can you drop a mobile device before the glass cracks, case breaks, stops working?

A typical consumer may drop their phone at home or spill a few drops of coffee on it. That's nothing compared to the rigors of the healthcare environment. A clinician may drop the device frequently on hard concrete floors. During a 24-hour period, multiple people may touch and use the device.

Enterprise-level devices tailored to the healthcare setting are encased in housing designed to withstand repeated cleanings. While tough casing protects against hardware failure, internal components also influence a product's lifecycle. Other essential features include keypads, screens, I/O ports, peripheral support and temperature resistance.

Keypads can be fully sealed so dirt, dust and liquids can't penetrate the gaps between keys and cause damage to the device. For added durability, legends can be etched (rather than printed) so keys remain legible after millions of uses. Enterprise computer makers often offer customers a choice of keypad configuration, which can enhance ease of use.

Screen damage is a leading source of repairs to mobile devices, so models with scratch-resistant screens are advantageous. Specialty screens can also remain readable in bright sunlight, and those sealed against moisture don't fog over when workers move among different temperatures.

How the computer interacts with peripheral services also has an impact on reliability and TCO. Integrated features or services are more rugged and reliable than separate peripheral components. For example, a scan engine integrated with the handheld computer takes advantage of the computer's ruggedized housing, drop protection and warranty coverage, while replacing the need for a separate, handheld scanner.

Honeywell enterprise device computers combine consumer devices' advantages and the purpose-built enterprise computers into a single package. Like consumer devices, Honeywell devices are designed with the user in mind, and they provide targeted functionality, a tactical keypad, and enhanced connectivity. Because the devices are touch-based, they are more familiar to the user, which improves speed to productivity.

Asset Management and Analytics. Do you know where your devices are in the hospital or how your clinical staff is treating them? Consumer devices can be complicated to track and are not set up for real-time analytics.  At Honeywell, we can equip our healthcare enterprise devices with Honeywell Operational Intelligence software. Your IT staff will have access to actionable insights that can help answer critical questions. The cloud-based solution enables deeper insights into your clinical workforce – from basic device usage tracking to detecting potential abuse of company assets and more – so your healthcare organization can maximize the value and longevity of your device lifecycle and keep your staff focused on patients. Newer features of Operational Intelligence for healthcare providers give greater visibility over social distancing and implement additional cleaning protocols.


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.


1Cresswell P., and Enrado P. 2020. Enterprise mobile device solutions: Key factors in mobile technology decision-making [webinar]. June 23, 2020.

Barry J. Ewell

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