The evolution of the ‘original’ healthcare smartphone

What happened to the world’s first healthcare smartphone?

In 2014, we launched the world’s first healthcare smartphone; the Myco. The name, short for ‘My Companion’,  was inspired by the nurses we shadowed and the way we approach the user experience – by walking in the shoes of frontline staff and acting as their digital companion while they reveal the challenges they face. The idea was simple – to save time and footsteps, and to give nurses the chance to spend more time with their patients.

Mwila Kapema, Myco Global Launch Program Manager said:

"The nurses we spoke to knew what wasn’t working, but couldn’t articulate what they needed. So, our user experience team shadowed entire shifts and recorded every moment the nurse needed access to information that was somewhere else. This shadowing process was so effective, it’s how we strive now to continue to work in this way."

Almost a decade later, with over 100,000 Myco users in multiple hospitals across the globe, the 4th generation Myco smartphone is still considered an indispensable tool for clinicians all over the world. And we’re still on the same mission: to make communication easy, to provide rapid access to information, and to support healthcare.  

But the Myco is no longer just for acute healthcare. Demand for a robust, multi-function smartphone in long-term care and in retail, hospitality, transport and logistics, manufacturing, and automotive, means that Myco has been adopted by enterprise businesses all over the world. 


Whilst the Myco was conceived in healthcare, its Ascom DNA is instantly evident and created something that Enterprise businesses can have the utmost confidence in. The ability to share information, collaborate effectively, keep staff safe, run niche specific line of business applications all with important capabilities such as location context, wrapped up in a single, robust and reliable device, is what our customers have come to expect for over fifty years from Ascom and that is exactly what Myco does for them.
Lloyd Spindler
Global Segment Manager – Enterprise.

What's new with Myco 4 - the highlights

The latest Ascom smartphone, the Myco 4, was released on 30th August 2023 and is available in 3 models for flexible pricing and functionality. Here are the highlights:

The Ascom Myco has enabled us to deliver our vision of combining all the tools and workflows our nurses use, into one platform. Our nurses love using the Myco and it’s allowed us to reduce devices, streamline workflows and give more time back to nurses
Kristen Robb
IS Strategic Partenr Director, St. Joseph Health Mission Hospital, California. June 2018

The 4th generation Myco has 4 aims:

  • Safer staff
  • Better patient care
  • Reliable and coordinated communications
  • A smarter investment; devices built to last and share across shifts  

Take a closer look at the Myco 4.

Why do nurses need a healthcare-specific smartphone?

Smartphones are considered critical for communication in most industries. But in healthcare, they’re mission-critical. Which means clinicians need something more than just a standard smartphone; something designed to address their daily challenges.

  • Poor Wi-Fi connection?
  • Bacteria breeding ground?
  • Dead battery at a critical moment?
  • A toolbelt of devices bursting at the seams? 
  • Slim, smooth phones that slip out of hands and pockets?

But healthcare-specific smartphones like the Myco aren’t just rugged and robust, they combine the functionality of several clinical-grade devices into one, without compromising performance:

  • Pager
  • Phone
  • Computer
  • Panic button
  • Barcode reader

Chase Farm Hospital, London
Chase Farm Hospital was the UK’s first ‘paperless’ new-build hospital. With 42 single rooms, the challenge was to make ‘invisible’ patients visible, so nurses didn’t miss a serious clinical issue. We co-designed the hospital’s sophisticated nurse call-system together with a team of nurses, and then integrated the system with Myco smartphones for dependable and connected communications. The result? Improved clinical safety and a dramatic reduction in admin.

Time saved:

  • Virtual ward safety huddles - up to 45 minutes per day
  • Audits - up to 30 minutes per day, per nurse
  • Theatre recovery throughput - up to 15 minutes per patient
  • Bed turnaround time - up to
  • 40 minutes per bed

“Crucially, the technology development work was done by clinicians instead of to clinicians. We had genuine engagement with nurses and other stakeholders as we carefully planned the hospital from the start – taking in the views of estates, IT, domestic staff, porters, admin, allied health and medical staff”, Natalie Forrest, CEO Chase Farm Hospital, UK. October 2019.

Read more about Chase Farm Hospital, UK

The evolution of the Myco Smartphone

The Ascom Myco was first used in a neonatal unit in Finland in 2015. The unique Myco alarm system helped nurses at the Kuopio University Hospital monitor newborn babies in family intensive care rooms. 9 years later, the original healthcare smartphone may look a bit different, but it’s still leading the way in healthcare communication. Here’s how our smartphone has grown:

2014 - Myco launch
On October 1st 2014, we launched the world’s first healthcare smartphone with our own version of Android. It was unique because it was robust and rugged enough to withstand a hospital environment, but secure enough to safeguard patient health information. 

“Ascom’s purpose-built, enterprise-grade smartphone was the first of its kind. Other mobile device companies then developed their own healthcare-focused smartphones (even mimicking Ascom’s colour palette). And that’s how the ‘healthcare smartphone’ was born.” Mwila Kapema, Global Launch Program Manager

2017 – Myco 2
The second generation Myco became Google certified adding access to Google Play store - an entire eco-system of Android apps - and Google Play Protect that safeguards against malware.

As a result of interest from retail, hospitality and industry customers, 2017 was also the year we launched an enterprise version of Myco, featuring the same sturdiness and tech consolidation but moving away from the sterile ‘white’ associated with healthcare. And driven by the demand for onsite communications, we added DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology for “interference-free” voice calls in the absence of Wi-Fi.

2020 – Myco 3
The terrible year of Covid and also the launch of Myco 3. Ascom’s mobile solutions supported safe patient care and communication with remote meetings and virtual consultations. The Myco was key in stopping isolation of patients and connecting family members during lockdown.

During COVID “disinfect-readiness” suddenly became the number one requirement in clinical environments; something which has been part of the DNA of an Ascom mobile device for over a decade. Ascom further improved the cleanability of our end-user products; rigorously verifying and validating numerous disinfection solvents, wipes, etc – post COVID disinfection protocols.

Big updates for the Myco 3 included a 4G modem with faster wireless data transmission, and a hot-swap battery that could be replaced without losing power or switching off the smartphone to avoid disruption of ongoing communication. We also introduced a high-performance barcode scanner, a larger 5” display and a safety feature to detect ‘no-movement’ and raise a ‘man-down’ alarm. And also further enhancement of cleanability and disinfect readiness of the Myco 2 compared to its predecessor.

“With good communication you get incredible efficiency. We have a very big space but the Myco has reduced the amount of unnecessary walking around nurses used to do. We can still deliver patient care at the same ratio of 5 patients to 1 nurse even though our new space is 3 times larger.” Peter Bak, CIO of Humber River Hospital, Canada.  

2023 – Myco 4
The 4th generation Myco is released. Sleeker but stronger, the latest version of the Myco smartphone has 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, an even better hot swap battery, improved barcode scanning and a bigger, more vivid display without extra weight. 

Join the many clinicians and hospitals improving healthcare communications with the Myco smartphone.

Find out more about Myco 4 

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