Every year ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving patient care, releases its Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns. The 2018 list is out, and while it may be no surprise that diagnostic errors and opioid safety top this year’s concerns, it’s telling that internal care coordination is number three on the list.
Clinical communication and collaboration solutions such as Voalte Platform are fast becoming a top priority because of the impact they have on care coordination, as well as patient care and safety. Using Voalte smartphones, caregivers have access to an up-to-the-minute directory that connects to the appropriate person with just one tap. They also receive immediate alerts from nurse call and physiologic monitors so they can respond promptly to patient needs.
Another way Voalte customers are improving internal care coordination is by sending critical lab values straight to the nurse at the bedside. By integrating with the electronic medical record, Voalte Platform ensures the nurse receives this vital information in seconds, and that he or she can reach out to the physician just as quickly. Before these integrations, the lab had to place a call to the Unit Secretary, who would try to locate the nurse. After the nurse received the message and reviewed the lab results, he or she would try to reach the physician, starting a game of phone tag. This whole process could easily take 15 or 30 minutes, versus the mere seconds involved with the smartphone workflow. That time is crucial for conditions such as sepsis, where the faster the care team responds, the better the patient’s chance of a successful outcome.
Our customers have found that quick communication and coordination is vital to reducing delays that affect patient safety. Recently, Nikki Harvey, MSN, RN, Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist at University of Kansas Health System, wrote an article in Becker’s Hospital Review. She said, “The University of Kansas Health converted to our smartphone system because we knew that better, more information-rich communications would improve patient safety and the quality of care.” Read the article to learn how the health system also used Voalte Platform to help address alarm overload and fatigue, ultimately reducing non-actionable alarms on one unit by 30 percent.
As the University of Kansas Health and other health systems are finding, using Voalte Platform in conjunction with alarm middleware increases the speed with which they respond to patients. Messages are sent to the right person quickly, and if that person is unable to respond, it escalates automatically to the next person. As the ERCI Institute points out, “Patient safety is a top priority for every healthcare organization, but knowing where to direct patient safety initiatives can be a daunting task.” If your organization is looking for ways to improve patient safety, feel free to reach out to me to discuss the ways Voalte Platform impacts internal care coordination.
Steve Johnson is Area Sales Manager at Voalte.