Overlake Medical Center is a 349-bed, nonprofit regional medical center serving Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond, Washington, and the greater Eastside region of King County and Seattle. Recently, Chief Nursing Officer Julie Clayton, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, and Chief Medical Officer David Knoepfler, MD, MBA, recognized the need to improve the way their care teams were communicating. At the time, nurses, physicians and support staff were relying on multiple communication devices, and collaboration could be disjointed and time-consuming as a result.
Julie and Dr. Knoepfler led an initiative to upgrade to Voalte Platform, citing the benefits of one comprehensive solution for voice, secure messaging, and alerts and alarms that integrate seamlessly into their existing IT environment, including Epic and other clinical systems. They also saw how the Voalte solution would help nurses, providers and support staff locate coworkers, care teams, and multiple specialty groups via a unified and clinically relevant directory. The new solution would provide the ability to exchange secure text messages and place voice calls with just one tap via shared hospital iPhones as well as to physicians’ personal smartphones outside the hospital.
They set out to overhaul the hospital’s communication system with the following goals in mind:
- Improve the patient experience.
- Create a quieter environment with less overhead paging.
- Promote better efficiency and staff satisfaction.
- Improve clinical response times related to nurse call, cardiac monitoring and bed alarms.
Largely due to Julie and Dr. Knoepfler’s vision, plus the leadership of Chief Information Officer Scott Waters, Overlake Medical Center recently earned distinction as one of “Health Care’s Most Wired” by the American Hospital Association. The award recognizes hospitals that are using innovative technologies to better serve their patients.
“Embracing emerging technologies allows us to deliver unparalleled care to the Eastside community,” said Scott. “Our methods and leading-edge technology allow our providers to better understand our patients and their needs across the whole care continuum.”
Those technologies include Voalte Platform, the No. 1 Secure Communications Platform as ranked by KLAS, as well as at-home monitoring of patients, simplified prescription renewals via mobile device, and integration of electronic health record (EHR) data with population management tools.
According to AHA President Rick Pollack, “The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology option to create more ways to reach their patients in order to provide access to care. They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs.”
Moving forward, Voalte is looking forward to working with the Overlake team to streamline the way caregivers receive alarms and alerts. By sending alert notifications from telemetry monitors and nurse call systems via Connexall middleware to Voalte smartphones, the medical center aims to reduce response time to patients and address the issue of alarm fatigue. Also, by integrating Voalte smartphones with the EHR via the Epic Rover and Haiku mobile applications, caregivers will have access to pertinent patient information, no matter where they are working.
Innovative hospitals such as Overlake Medical Center are truly leading the way in adopting the latest healthcare technologies to benefit patient care and safety. By recognizing the value of Voalte Platform and other next-generation solutions that align with their clinical goals, such forward-looking hospitals are improving delivery of care now and into the future.
Daren LeCrone is Manager of Digital Health at Voalte.