Enabling Care, Safety, and Efficiency Through Unified Communications

April 19, 2010 Topic: Benefits & Outcomes 

Mary, a patient at your hospital, wears a heart monitor. Her physician sets up a communications alert to ensure he is notified if it goes off. At 10 p.m. it does. The nurse on duty is notified immediately on an in-house wireless telephone and quickly assists Mary. But the doctor needs to be alerted, too. The technology behind the scenes instantly checks the communication rules regarding whom to contact, where, and on what device. The system indicates that Mary’s doctor left the hospital at 9 p.m., so an urgent message goes to his smartphone instead of his onsite pager. If it’s not read quickly, a text-to-speech message is sent to his home phone. If unanswered, the contact center agent is notified and the message is escalated to another on-call physician.

Sound futuristic? It isn’t. Because everyone is mobile and everyone has at least one communications device, reaching the right person in a time of critical need can be a complex process. Technology with intelligence is key to patient care, safety, and satisfaction—as well as optimized workflow and staff efficiency.

Unified Communications: It’s All About Managing the Details

The potential of communications has expanded beyond the realm of simply making a connection between two people in static locations. In healthcare, a myriad of clinical, safety, and other communication systems constantly generates updates, alerts, and key pieces of information. This is in addition to your staff’s ongoing need to connect directly with one another to collaborate on patient care. But unless the right data is gathered and delivered to the right person, at the right time, on the right communications device, it’s useless. People and technology now need to communicate flawlessly to speed response times and keep safety and satisfaction in the forefront.

Given this vast amount of information, the way your organization communicates needs to change every minute—but seamlessly and behind the scenes—in order to rally the right caregivers to help patients. Doctors go in and out of surgery and staffing assignments change around the clock. So when a patient comes to the emergency department with heart attack symptoms in the middle of the night, are you quickly gathering all the right people when the code STEMI is called? Patients’ lives depend on the coordination and management of details like this.