Everyone seems to be talking about physician texting lately. That’s great news, considering how the cumbersome process of trying to reach a doctor can negatively impact patient care. Healthcare workers have long struggled with ineffective workflows that involve noisy overhead paging, call-back loops with a pager service, or legacy mobile devices that don’t work outside the hospital walls. Frustrated caregivers often resort to using personal phones to call or text doctors, despite the obvious security breach.
Fortunately, smartphone communication alternatives can help improve care coordination. Over the past five years, we’ve worked with some of the nation’s leading hospitals, and learned that the best approach involves a step-by-step process leading to a complete Mobile Communication Strategy. Only Voalte integrates all the core components:
- Inside communication: Connect caregivers within the hospital using Voalte One™, a shared smartphone alternative for VoIP calling, alarm and alert notification, and text messaging.
- Outside communication: Add Voalte Me™ on either personal smartphones or hospital-owned devices to send and receive HIPAA-compliant text messages with caregivers outside the hospital.
- Technology collaboration: Integrate with other mobile technologies for nurse call and middleware, electronic medical records (EMR) and barcode scanning to leverage current investments and prepare for the future.
As a story in Forbes pointed out last year, leading facilities such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are implementing mobile communication technology for nurses inside the hospital first, then expanding outside the hospital to physicians, and ultimately integrating across systems such as EMR and barcode medication administration (BCMA). With the release of Epic Rover, the app that ties into Cedar-Sinai’s EMR platform, the hospital’s IT team was able to build on the solid Mobile Communication Strategy already in place. Caregivers were familiar with using Voalte for communication, making it an easy transition when adding new functions.
As the Greek philosopher Artistotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” While it may be tempting to skip steps and implement a quick and easy physician texting app, be careful. Partial solutions that don’t take into account your whole mobile technology infrastructure can actually do more harm than good, and end up being more expensive in the long run.
Please post a comment below about how your doctors are communicating with nurses and others inside the hospital.