Last week’s webinar: “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story,” hosted by HIStalk and Voalte, illuminated the problem of inefficient healthcare communication and highlighted the negative impact this problem has on both staff and patients. If you were unable to attend the live webinar, we’re pleased to offer a recording so you can listen at your convenience. Personally, I was left with three main takeaways:
- A critical need for collaboration between nursing, physicians, support staff and IT.
- The healing impact of a quieter environment on the patient experience.
- The ability to improve patient outcomes with more efficient workflows.
1. A critical need for collaboration between nursing, physicians, support staff and IT.
James Jones, VP of Patient Care Services and Nursing Operations, and Wayne Manuel, Sr. VP of Strategic Services, demonstrated the importance of Clinical and IT teams collaborating before they deploy new communication technologies. Valley Medical Center was using multiple devices – legacy phones, pagers, overhead paging and handheld radios – resulting in a time-consuming communication process that hurt staff and patient satisfaction.
James and Wayne gathered a multidisciplinary group of IT pros, nursing leaders, physicians and support staff to share ideas on how they could streamline communication. Unfortunately, many hospitals forego this step, relying solely on the IT team to weigh the pros and cons of a new technology, without fully considering the impact on the people who use it every day. By taking into account the specific clinical workflows that nurses, physicians, support staff and others throughout the facility use to care for patients, they were able to make a better decision on the communication solution that would best serve their hospital.
2. The healing impact of a quieter environment on the patient experience. In last week’s webinar, Wayne said one of the main goals of a new communication solution was to replace noisy phones and handheld radios, and greatly reduce overhead paging. Valley Medical Center ultimately chose Voalte Platform™ as the most comprehensive, HIPAA-compliant communication platform solution, and Apple® iPhone as their device of choice. The new smartphones replace an inefficient “communication loop” with secure texting via Voalte, integrate with Epic® Rover and Haiku to give nurses and physicians quick access to the electronic medical record, and tie in with Connexall® middleware for nurse call and patient monitor alert notifications. Thanks to secure text messaging and alarms and alerts via Voalte smartphones, Valley Medical Center is now a significantly quieter facility, which has benefited not only patient satisfaction scores, but staff satisfaction as well.
3. The ability to improve patient outcomes with more efficient workflows. Valley Medical Center is one of the first hospitals I’ve worked with that analyzed the impact of efficient communication on patient outcomes. Before implementing Voalte Platform, James did a baseline assessment of key indicators, including skin integrity events and medication errors. In the webinar, he explains the steps his staff took to create new clinical workflows using the new communication platform, and the significant decrease in those negative events as a result.
To hear our customers describe Voalte technology as “monumental” further proves to me the major roles effective communication and care team collaboration play in ensuring patients receive the best possible care. Take some time to listen to Valley Medical Center’s webinar, then feel free to reach out to me with your main takeaways.
Daren LeCrone is Manager of mHealth Strategy at Voalte.