Now that caregivers have heard the news, they are demanding their IT departments deliver on the incredible promise of seamless mobile communication. Physicians, nurses and support staff are clamoring for a quick conversion to communication perfection … a state of “mobile Nirvana” that seems so easily achievable, if only they could get their hands on a smartphone!
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
At HIMSS15 in Chicago last week, I spoke with many IT managers who are feeling the pressure from caregivers and staff to implement a quick fix to communication challenges that have been simmering for decades. In meetings with Voalte customers and others, I found myself repeating the same cautions time and again.
While smartphones have the power to improve caregiver communication, the fix is neither quick nor easy. If you’re looking at some of the flashy new communication apps entering the market, be sure you understand all the complexities involved in making them work effectively in your facility. That includes:
- Assessing your existing Wi-Fi network and upgrading as necessary.
- Deploying hundreds of smartphones unit by unit.
- Planning for smartphone storage, charging and maintenance.
- Developing a secure BYOD policy for providers and others to use their own smartphones.
- Analyzing and integrating with existing alarm and alert systems.
- Training thousands of end users.
While a pragmatic, step-by-step approach may not be quite as sexy as some of the new apps that promise a quick fix, it’s the only way to ensure a successful Mobile Communication Strategy. Some Voalte customers have learned that lesson the hard way.
Take Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The private, not-for-profit hospital turned to Voalte after a pilot of another company’s new healthcare communication application failed to work reliably. Now, caregivers at the 155-bed facility are relying on a robust, comprehensive Voalte smartphone solution for voice communication, text messaging, and alarm and alert integration. (Read more here.) This is just one example of a dozen hospitals that have turned to Voalte to replace communication solutions that have been over-promised and under-delivered.
With smartphones in healthcare gaining momentum, expect to see more choices from more companies in the near future. As you weigh your options, beware of those that promise a quick path to communication salvation. Achieving “mobile Nirvana” in our hospitals still requires a lot of hard work.