It’s that time of year again. Spirits and spooks are everywhere, with monsters lurking even within our hospitals. By now, the dreaded Frankenphone should be shunned as an abomination – an inefficient, piece-meal smartphone solution cobbled together with leftover devices and free apps. Yet alchemists still labor in the basement, breeding ghastly, hideous creatures!
We revealed their existence three years ago, in a blog post by Oscar Callejas. At that time, inexpensive “secure texting apps” were touted as a quick fix for healthcare communication. Many healthcare IT professionals thought it made sense to hand out smartphones to the staff, tell them to download an app, and let the texting begin. How hard could it be? Unfortunately, the result is a zombie apocalypse of communication projects that are no longer alive but not completely dead.
The problems Oscar pointed out three years ago are even more pertinent today: lack of support for clinical workflows, apps that only connect small groups of users, inability to integrate with the EMR, lack of native voice capabilities, and insufficient battery life.
To that list, I’d add these very real dangers:
- Shrieking alarms and alerts – By consolidating nurse call, physiological monitor and electronic medical record alerts with voice calls and text messages on one smartphone, you can free nurses, physicians and other care team members from the chaos of juggling multiple devices. Voalte Platform integrates directly with nurse call systems and with middleware solutions from partners such as Connexall to route actionable alarms and alerts directly to the appropriate person’s smartphone.
- Wicked Wi-Fi networks – Hospitals aren’t known for hospitable Wi-Fi. Signal strength, signal-to-noise ratio, cell overlap, data rates and many other parameters are vital to the success of a smartphone strategy. Voalte does a thorough assessment of your Wi-Fi network before you get started, and addresses potential issues before they become a problem.
- Lonely souls – In healthcare technology, no one system answers every need. It’s important for smartphones to tie in with a broad spectrum of third-party systems, from PBX to nurse call to physiological monitoring to your EMR to physician scheduling solutions such as Lightning Bolt. That’s why Voalte partners with industry leaders to promote interoperability between disparate systems and data, and make smartphones a vital part of your complex technology ecosystem.
- DIY failures – While it may be tempting to take a do-it-yourself approach to smartphones, a seemingly quick and simple solution can become a time-consuming and costly nightmare. Every communication platform requires the hands-on support of clinical and technical experts to ensure success. Voalte is the leading provider of smartphones for healthcare, with more smartphones deployed at the point of care than any other company. And our 24/7 support is always available when unexpected issues arise.
Victor Frankenstein may not have had evil intentions when he set out to bring new life into the world, but he soon learned that creating a monster has dire consequences. This Halloween, use extreme caution before letting Frankenphone loose in your hospital.
Matt Peterson is Regional Vice President at Voalte.