In his presentation on Clinical Communication & Collaboration Platforms, Dr Benjamin Kanter, Chief Medical Information Officer, Vocera, characterised a “smart hospital” as one that recognises and reacts to new clinical and operational information quickly and efficiently.
By shortening the time to act, a smart hospital’s operations become streamlined and patient outcomes improved.
The key to making this happen is a clinical communication and collaboration platform.
A smart hospital is necessary because of a very modern problem: distraction.
Information overload in the hospital of today is an unintended consequence of our data-rich digital age, the Vocera executive explained.
Flowing unfiltered from different hospital systems, alerts, alarm notifications, messages and calls can result in the recipient facing cognitive burnout and medical errors. This is because each nurse or physician has a finite ability to absorb new information while simultaneously providing direct patient care.
This problem is set to increase with the growing adoption of 5G in healthcare within the next five years, especially in the outpatient environment as medical technologies enable new forms of monitoring and care.
Managing information flow effectively in the hospital environment is therefore critical, ensuring that frontline healthcare workers get their job done without being unduly burdened by uncoordinated messages.
Making sense out of chaos
The ability to rapidly convert data from different sources into actionable information is a key determinant of organisational success, Dr Kanter continued, requiring solutions to be able to transform data in real-time.
A modern clinical communication and collaboration platform would receive data from multiple hospital systems simultaneously, determine relative priorities, and intelligently distribute the work to the right person or teams while shortening response times and improving patient outcomes.
It does this by aggregating and integrating data streaming in from different subsystems before converting into information which may or may not require action. An intelligent system understands that knowing when not to interrupt a caregiver is as important as knowing when a message should be sent.
Dr Kanter used the analogy of an air traffic controller who orchestrates the flow of information to the right person or team, based on role, responsibility and availability.
Manual and automated escalations are furthermore built in. If a frontline caregiver is unable or unwilling to respond, messages can be automatically rerouted until delivery takes place.
A communication and collaboration platform should be “agnostic,” as to the mix of devices used by staff members. Dr. Kanter commented that each hospital role has unique workflows and therefore will have its own preferred communication device. Neither the electronic health record nor communication platform should constrain device choices.
Dr Kanter offered the example of the smartphone, now used increasingly by nurses in the healthcare environment. Vocera’s Vina, a secure healthcare smartphone app, is available on both Apple and Android systems, giving the clinician full access to the functionality of the Vocera Platform that expedites clinical communication.
The app is complemented by hands-free communication equipment that can be worn by nurses and physicians under their PPE, that is not only voice-operated but also features duress or panic buttons.
Implementation of a modern communication platform can result in major reductions in response times to both clinical and operational issues. Dr. Kanter highlighted two examples (one for staff safety and the other for clinical emergencies) chosen from among the many contained within Vocera’s document library available to the public on their website.
In the United States, one hospital documented a sharp reduction in the time it took to respond to staff in jeopardy finding that their average security response time dropped from three minutes to one, while in the UK, a hospital documented an average reduction in cardiac arrest team mobilisation from two minutes to 20 seconds through implementing Vocera’s system.
Watch the full webinar, including Q&A, below: