According to the Secure Communication 2018 report, “hospitals and acute care organizations are moving toward broad communication platforms that streamline communication organization-wide.” The report goes on to say that many organizations “are expanding their visions to include interfaces and functionality that improve communication for multiple workflows, thereby improving patient care.”
What does this mean on the ground? In an article published by Advance Healthcare, I lay out some practical guidelines and examples to help hospitals leverage the enhanced functionality of today’s clinical communication platforms. The following are the five things to consider when thinking about hospital communication:
- Patient data integration. Integrating a communication platform with data from EMRs, biomedical devices, in-house pharmacies and labs enables caregivers to be more connected, better informed and more responsive to patient needs. At the high-tech Clinical Logistics Center at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, a staff of paramedics monitor the conditions of up to 220 patients at its two facilities. Voalte Platform™, including Voalte Messenger™, enables the center to immediately mobilize nurses and clinical teams at the first sign of trouble. (Watch for a HIStalk webinar on Nemours coming up on March 6, 2019.)
- Clear view of workflow and chain of command. An integral component of an effective mobile communication platform is a well-designed, patient-centric smartphone directory. Further, standardizing directories across units, departments and systems minimizes miscommunication during patient handoffs and sign-outs, which are the leading causes of preventable errors and adverse clinical events in various settings, according to HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- Alarm filtering. One of hospitals’ top priorities nationwide is reducing the “alarm fatigue” that occurs when clinicians receive a high volume of non-actionable alerts. The suspend feature in a hospital’s middleware can be used to address this issue. For example, in a single weeklong period, Johns Hopkins Health System was able to winnow more than 61,000 warning-level alarms on its physiological monitors to send a mere 3,000 to mobile devices. (Read more here.)
- Physician scheduling. Facilitating better communication with physicians inside and outside the hospital also needs to be a priority. More than 75% of physicians use mobile communication in their practice weekly, but hospital nurses spend hours every day trying to connect with on-call physicians and specialists. University of Kentucky HealthCare was able to reduce the time needed to reach a provider from 8:13 minutes to only 1:01 minutes by integrating Voalte Platform with physician scheduling software.
- Workflow analysis. As more robust communication platforms come to play a greater role in patient care and safety, hospitals will need better ways to manage their communication workflows. New tools for communication workflow analysis, such as Voalte Insight, can help hospitals identify and prevent workflow breakdowns; provide contextual insights into alerts, trends and response times; and compare performance across units and buildings.
See the full article in Advance Healthcare to learn more about how hospitals can position themselves to facilitate fast, easy, efficient and informative communications throughout their organizations.
Alex Brown is Director of Strategy at Voalte.