Publication: Healthcare Informatics
Editor: Gabriel Perna
Down the road from Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest and most famous of lakes in the serene Lakes Region of New Hampshire, is headquarters of the Laconia, N.H.-based health system, aptly named, Lakes Region General Healthcare (LRGHealthcare).
LRGHealthcare is comprised of Lakes Region General Hospital, a 100-bed acute care facility with numerous specialty departments, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Franklin, N.H., Franklin Regional Hospital, and multiple medical clinics and practices. It is home to one of the busiest emergency departments (ED) in the state, according to the staff. The way Elaine Cartier, LRGHealthcare’s senior director of inpatient services, tells it, the provider pretty much does everything other than neurology and cardiac surgery.
The importance of dialogue between all of these specialties in the hospital, as well the opening of a large, 98 thousand sq. foot expansion to the facility’s intensive care unit (ICU) and senior services unit in December of 2011, became reason enough for LRGHealthcare to seek out an investment in mobile health (mHealth) that would improve communication.
“[When we did this expansion] the size of our rooms increased, the size of our units increased, and we noticed we needed a better way of communicating,” says Stephanie Wheeler, Clinical Coordinator of Clinical Care Services.
Texting in the Hospital
With this need articulated, LRGHealthcare turned to Voalte (Sarasota, Fla.). With the help of Voalte’s software and an initial order of 165 iPhones, it has implemented a mHealth communication system which allows different clinicians, pharmacists, case managers, and other staff members to instantly text with each other. Further, the iPhones are equipped with a battery pack, allowing it to be powered on for longer.