It’s pretty clear that major healthcare organizations, which cover vast geographical areas and employ huge staffs, can benefit from an efficient communication system that connects many people across long distances. But a solid communication platform is equally beneficial to smaller hospitals, which may not cover the same ground as larger facilities, but face the same communication challenges and care coordination hurdles.
Two of our long-time customers provide a perfect case in point. One is a small, regional medical center with approximately 60 patient beds; the other is one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the country with more than 650 beds. Both have been using Voalte smartphones for years, and both are currently expanding the use of our solutions and adding new users.
The pediatric hospital has equipped its staff with 3,500 smartphones for seamless communication via voice calls and secure text messages. Integration with physiological monitors and the nurse call system via Connexall middleware enables direct notification of alarms and alerts to the appropriate caregiver. When that particular nurse is not available, the system escalates the alert automatically to ensure a speedy response to the patient.
Currently, the hospital is building a new patient tower, and plans to add another 200 Voalte smartphones to ensure everyone stays connected across the additional 600,000 square feet of geographical space. In the meantime, physicians have seen how smartphones are improving communication among nursing staff and other clinicians, so they are clamoring to be included in the loop. To help them reach the right person quickly and easily, the hospital is working to deploy the Voalte Me app on physicians’ personal smartphones.
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Despite its very different size, the small medical center also depends on Voalte solutions to meet patient needs quickly. Nurse managers refer to the Voalte directory to see which nurse is taking care of which patient in a particular room on any given shift. Nurses rely on secure text messaging to communicate quickly with their fellow nurses, as well as with other departments they depend upon to deliver high-quality care.
Soon, the medical center will roll out smartphones to additional departments, ensuring that all caregivers are using the same communication tools. One upcoming project involves equipping caregivers in the senior living department with smartphones to help alleviate the risk of patient falls. When an alert from a patient bed or nurse call is sent instantly to the correct nurse, she or he can call back to the room and tell the patient someone is on the way to prevent them from getting out of bed on their own.
As these two customers demonstrate, when it comes to patient care, the big challenges inherent in clinical communication remain the same regardless of the hospital’s size.
Steve Johnson is an Area Sales Manager at Voalte.