"Being able to access the Internet on handheld devices isn't going anywhere—it is only expanding and the audience is starting younger," says Nikki Laska, marketing and communications manager for the hospital.
"Mobiles allow us to target potential patients based on their location, and it allows them fast access our hospital information with a click of a button. Because time is of the essence when finding emergency care, we want Baltimore area residents, business professionals, and tourists to know that quality emergency care is only minutes away."
Downloadable smartphone apps are another way hospitals are sharing information with patients and physicians. One of the most common smartphone apps among hospitals is a tool that informs mobile users how long emergency room wait times are.
Apps can be made for internal use, too. Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital created an in-house iPhone app called VitalHub, which allows its physicians to securely access patient records, test results, and medical literature from an internal data network.
Southern Regional recently created an app in an attempt to increase donations to its foundation. Users who download the app can also read the latest Southern Regional news and watch videos. But so far, the results are mediocre.
"I wouldn't say it's been below expectations, but the traffic hasn't been as great," Gordon says. "The mobile-specific site has exceeded our expectations and has been a big satisfier to our internal clients like physicians as well as our external consumer base."