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May 1 2014   11:29AM GMT

Mobile hospital communication technology speeds up patient care

Posted by: adelvecchio
HIPAA compliance, mHealth applications, Mobile applications

th_1398961560_Brent Lang 2011 v2Guest post by: Brent Lang, president and CEO of Vocera Communications, Inc.

In a busy hospital setting, being able to reach the right person at the right time can save lives. When a clinician can instantly locate the resources and information they need, they can prevent treatment delays, reduce medical errors and spend more time on patient care.

Today’s hospital workforce needs to be more mobile and collaborative than ever before. However, due to the use of open-loop, unsecure communication technologies such as pagers that don’t integrate with a hospital’s existing clinical system, quickly communicating with the right physician or nurse is an ongoing challenge. Nurses often spend precious minutes shuffling back and forth from the central nurses’ station waiting for a response from a physician — time that could be better spent at a patient’s bedside. As a result, patients’ safety and their experience may be negatively affected.

In a fast-paced setting, where every second matters, hospital communication technology must enable busy staff to securely connect from anywhere to give approvals, answer questions and respond to emergencies. While various communication technologies already exist, hospitals should look for products that provide a suite of services in one easy-to-use application. Mobile applications must be sensitive to user communication preferences and should be accessible on any device. This allows hospital staff to communicate whether they’re inside or outside of the facility. Additionally, a mobile application that encompasses a suite of services will eliminate the uncertainty of paging, and the need to switch applications depending on the mode of communication desired.

The application should be intuitive and HIPAA-compliant, and should allow staff to reach each other instantaneously whether they are calling by name, job function, or group. For greater visibility, the application should also give users the ability to determine who is logged on and available at a moment’s notice and gain access to outside contacts, groups and distribution lists if they need to be reached in an emergency situation.

Providing hospital staff with an application that streamlines communication across the care continuum allows clinicians to make decisions in a timely manner and will dramatically increase staff collaboration. With the right mobile hospital communication technology, healthcare workers will not only increase efficiency and care quality, but also improve the patient experience, reduce unnecessary readmissions, and may help save lives.

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