Publication: Becker’s Hospital Review
At any large hospital, patients are cared for by teams of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other specialists. A “handoff” occurs during each transfer of responsibility for care, and a “signout” happens each time patient information is transmitted.
These handoffs and signouts can inevitably result in miscommunication – a leading cause of preventable errors that have been linked to adverse clinical events in various settings. To meet the Joint Commission’s requirement that all health care providers “implement a standardized approach to handoff communications,” the University of Kansas Health System has consolidated care team communications, including alarm/alert notifications, on the Voalte smartphone platform. In a 2017 news release, the Joint Commission cited our ability to standardize channels for communication handoffs as a criterion for awarding us its first Comprehensive Cardiac Center (CCC) Certification.
We began deploying smartphones in our units in 2014. Today, Kansas Health physicians and staff use more than 1,000 of these HIPAA-compliant devices (both shared Apple® iPhones with Voalte One and providers’ personal smartphones with the Voalte Me app) throughout the hospital and offsite locations. Following is our approach for using the smartphones to standardize communications and address challenges in alarm management.