Bring Your Own Mobile Device (BYOD) to the Hospital: Layered Boundary Barriers and Divergent Boundary Management Strategies

Stephens, Keri
Zhu, Yaguang
Harrison, Millie
Iyer, Meena
Hairston, Terrie
Luk, John
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This study examined how one US hospital implemented a mobile communication app to improve workplace communication. The hospital did not provide the technology, instead they asked their workers to use their own personal mobiles at work, through a permissive bring your own device to work (BYOD) policy. Using boundary theory, we conducted a constant-comparative analysis to examine the layers of boundary management issues. At the organizational level, the key issues were policy legacy, communicating the policy, control, dead zones, and mobile costs. At the group level, different hospital units created their own formal and informal policies. At the individual level, themes included personal mobile device use, job role expectations, and decision-making autonomy. The discussion presents examples of how healthcare workers enacted segregator and integrator boundaries. Our findings explain why it is not easy to tell hospital employees, “Go ahead and use your mobiles for patient care,” and have them embrace this practice.
boundary management, BYOD, healthcare IT, interprofessional communication, mobile device
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