At the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders (IONL) Spring Conference in Des Moines last month, I had the pleasure of meeting many of the state’s clinical innovators and catching up with others whom I’ve worked with in the past. It’s interesting to follow the career paths of nurses who have transitioned from large health systems such as University of Iowa Health Care to leadership roles at some of the state’s smaller hospitals. After using Voalte Platform at University of Iowa, where approximately 6,200 users communicate via more than 3,500 Voalte smartphones, these nursing leaders are eager to upgrade the legacy communication solutions that are often still in use at community hospitals.
A quick analysis of the approximately 200 conference attendees showed half were from hospitals with 150 beds or fewer. Nurses at these hospitals tell me they face the same communication challenges as much larger health systems. Regardless of size, all hospitals:
- Face end-of-life issues for legacy phones that will no longer be replaced or supported by the manufacturer.
- Need to integrate communication with nurse call systems to improve response times, patient satisfaction and staff satisfaction.
- Are seeking ways to reduce noise and improve the patient experience.
- Need to implement mobility initiatives that enable nurses and others working inside the hospital to connect and collaborate with physicians and others working outside hospital walls.
- Have nurses demanding text messaging to perform their jobs simply and efficiently.
While many major medical centers choose Voalte for their care team communication, we also help community hospitals meet their communication needs. Frisbie Memorial Hospital in New Hampshire has been a customer since 2009, and has shown significant improvements in nurse-to-physician communication. Using pre- and post-implementation studies, they found that total communication time between doctors and nurses dropped 82 percent when the hospital replaced pagers with Voalte smartphones. Surveys also showed an increase in staff satisfaction as a result of the new communication solution.
We also serve community hospitals that are part of larger health systems. Avera Health, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has chosen Voalte Platform as the communication standard across 33 hospitals in five states. Judy Blauwet, DNP, MPH, BSN, FACHE, Chief Clinical Information Officer, says, “A nurse at Avera Sacred Heart or Queen of Peace can simply look up Avera McKennan and see what nurse to give direct information or direct report to with just a single lookup.”
Besides connecting care teams across hospitals, having one comprehensive communication platform also enables care teams working within the hospital to connect easily with physicians working at offsite clinics. Whether it has 800 or 150 beds, every hospital needs to connect nurses with physicians across multiple locations to ensure a positive experience for staff and patients.
Jeff Green is Area Sales Manager with Voalte.