How Leading Hospitals Are Using Mobile Apps for Training and Better Patient Care

Like training, healthcare is complicated. Patients are scared or unwell, families are worried about their loved ones, and doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are doing their best to ensure their patients are receiving the best treatment available.

This complexity is part of why leading hospitals and clinics around the world are adopting mobile technology for training. Mobile devices have proven pedagogical advantages over traditional eLearning and are extremely portable, easy to use, and owned by nearly everyone. This—combined with emerging strategies for training delivery and talent development—creates opportunities to increase motivation, engagement, and knowledge retention and reduce training costs by making training and performance support resources available at learners’ fingertips.

Training Hospital Staff

Increased Motivation, Engagement, and Knowledge Retention

A recent study reports that 70 percent of respondents felt more motivated to learn when able to navigate courses using mobile technology. A 2015 study reported that 72[1] percent of mobile learners reported increased engagement. Hospital work often involves long hours and stressful situations, making it difficult to not only find time for extra training but also to be motivated to learn. The good news is that mobile learning makes a real difference!

Training materials on mobile apps are designed in small chunks and are task- or goal-oriented, which makes lessons more focused and easier to complete. Instead of signing up for a long training session or completing an entire eLearning course, users can complete shorter, meaningful lessons on their own time. Keeping lessons concise means learners are less likely to become disengaged, while the sense of accomplishment gained from completing a specific task increases motivation to continue learning.

Not only are mobile learners more motivated, they are also more likely to retain knowledge and improve their skills.[2] The best mobile training materials are designed to be task- or goal-oriented, delivering short, 2-10-minute lessons that focus on the development of a specific skill or retention of certain knowledge. This focus blocks out the noise and makes it easier to understand what knowledge or skill the training is trying to impart.

Great mobile learning design also leverages the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology with personalized learning schedules and push learning. Since each learner is able to engage with the material at their own time and pace, training progress can be tracked and the lessons tailored towards the individual’s current skills/knowledge. Push notifications can then be sent as reminders to keep the employee on track, promote natural memory formation, and combat the forgetting curve.

Just-In-Time Training

Smartphone technology put just-in-time training (JITT) on the map. JITT is delivering key points of data at the point of need so that learners no longer have to memorize every piece of information necessary. Instead, training resources follow professionals into the field as performance support tools—infusing learning with practical experience and increasing employees’ confidence.

JITT is invaluable in clinical settings because staff can access short training videos to refresh their memory before a procedure or confirm information about next steps, dosage, and more.[3] With just-in-time training, employees can cross-check facts, review training materials, or go over checklists to confirm their decisions and improve accuracy.

Reduction of Training Costs

Whether it’s for onboarding new employees or supporting existing employees, training can be expensive.

Mobile apps not only utilize revolutionary pedagogical approaches, they’ve also been shown to reduce training costs significantly.[4] Creating and distributing new training materials can be burdensome, but with a mobile platform like Capillary, you can quickly and easily distribute training materials to individuals, teams, or the entire staff. Such platforms also make it easy to update training materials quickly and efficiently so content is always up to date with evolving best-practices.

Employees benefit because they can assume control over their own training and development, accessing the app at their own pace and place rather than being forced to spend productive work hours in a more traditional classroom setting.

Better Patient Care

Customer Service and Bedside Manner

These days the patient experience is more important than ever. Avoidable confrontations and negative reviews go straight to the bottom line.

But just as mobile learning can improve clinical measures of performance, it’s also an effective medium for soft skills. When paired with social and other communications, such programs are more likely to change behavior, leading to happier patients and higher HCAHPS scores.

Patient Training

Mobile learning isn’t just for employees. Ultimately, mobile learning is about behavior change. Whether that involves managing a life-long disease, preparing for an upcoming surgery, or altering lifestyle choices, it’s clear that mobile learning leads patients to improved outcomes.[5] Mobile apps easily provide all the information a patient needs without overwhelming them.[6] For example, instead of providing all of the references a patient will need over their care journey all at once, mobile learning programs can space out learning content so that the patient is presented with specific information according to their plan of care.

Imagine the fear and confusion involved with being diagnosed with something like type 2 diabetes. The patient is not only dealing with the stress of their diagnosis but must also change deeply ingrained habits. Having a mobile app with videos of how to check and administer insulin, information about foods to avoid, and glucose management protocol could, at the very least, relieve some stress and offer convenience and, at best, literally be a life saver.

It’s clear that knowledge and information are an extremely important aspect of any healthcare situation or hospital setting. Hospital staff and patients need training and instant access to important information. And mobile apps can provide all of that in a convenient way that makes training and learning available where it is most valuable.


[1] Yılmaz, O., & Sanalan, V. A. (2011, October 01). M-learning: M-learning Applications, Students Input for M-learning in Science Instruction. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/wje/article/view/471

[2] Benefits of Mobile Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cdn.lynda.com/cms/asset/text/lyndacom-whitepaper-mobile-learning-benefits-20151245042329.pdf

[3] Pappas, C. (2017, October 13). How To Dramatically Reduce Corporate Training Costs. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from https://elearningindustry.com/dramatically-reduce-corporate-training-costs

[4] Wendy Hardyman, Alison Bullock, Alice Brown, Sophie Carter-Ingram, & Mark Stacey. (2013, January 21). Mobile technology supporting trainee doctors’ workplace learning and patient care: An evaluation. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6920-13-6

[5] El-Gayar, O., Timsina, P., Nawar, N., & Eid, W. (2013, January 01). Mobile Applications for Diabetes Self-Management: Status and Potential – Omar El-Gayar, Prem Timsina, Nevine Nawar, Wael Eid, 2013. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/193229681300700130

[6] Kelly L, Jenkinson C, Morley D. Experiences of Using Web-Based and Mobile Technologies to Support Self-Management of Type 2 Diabetes: Qualitative Study. JMIR Diabetes 2018;3(2):e9. URL: https://diabetes.jmir.org/2018/2/e9. DOI: 10.2196/diabetes.9743. PMID: 30291098. PMCID: 6238842.

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