Smartphones have transformed our lives by putting a world of information in our hands at all times. This changes everything about our daily interactions, from how we communicate with friends to how we perform our jobs to how we shop. Yet one area where constant access to up-to-date information is lacking is in healthcare.
I can walk into a Banana Republic or Target store, and the associate on the floor can tell me right at the point of engagement if a shirt in my size is in inventory, if other colors are available elsewhere, or when a new shipment is due. Meanwhile, nurses and physicians often don’t have access to the most up-to-date information as they interact with patients at the bedside.
Businesses across nearly every industry have discovered innovative uses for smart mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, that improve operational efficiencies and make businesses more profitable. One industry that lags behind is healthcare, where, ironically, effective communication and access to information is not only a good business practice but also a matter of keeping patients safe.
While communication is usually the driver to bring smartphones into a hospital, our customers find that a complete communication platform offers many additional benefits. Integration with the electronic health record (EHR) and ADT feed delivers information to the appropriate caregiver right at the patient’s bedside, where it’s needed most. And by providing a platform to run multiple medical applications in addition to Voalte communication solutions, the smartphone becomes even more powerful.
In last week’s article in Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, Dana Peco, MSN, BSN, CCRN, shared some of the ways innovative hospitals are using smartphones to not only facilitate timely clinical communication but also empower nurses and physicians with critical patient safety tools and information. We’re proud to partner with the leading healthcare organizations Dana references in the article, as they pave the way in using today’s communication technologies to manage alarms and alerts, improve medication administration practices, provide quicker access to critical lab results and much more. Yet I’m concerned that only 10 percent of U.S. hospitals have upgraded to smartphones from outdated methods of communication.
When the clerk at Target is better-equipped with information than our nurses and physicians, we’re all at risk.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.