- Voalte has released its latest whitepaper, “Crawl, Walk, Run: Three Steps to Improving Clinical Efficiency and Effectiveness.”
According to the report, inefficient communications costs hospitals across the U.S. approximately $12 billion annually. The root of this problem is hospitals utilizing outdated communications models. These outdated models provide nurses with a communications “tool belt” with too many devices to juggle and weaken communications.
Voalte recommends that healthcare providers struggling with inefficient communications address the issue in three steps:
Step 1: Invest in One Integrated Communication Tool
Voalte recommends investing in one integrated communications tool, such as a smartphone. Using smartphones allow voice, alarm, and text messaging to be integrated in one device, allowing nurses to respond from any location in the hospital without having to juggle multiple devices. Smartphones, through applications such as Epocrates, also allow nurses to look up critical information immediately, improving workflow and enabling caregivers to better respond to patient needs.
Step 2: Assess Your Workflow
Hospitals should conduct a clinical workflow assessment prior to implementing a new communications solution. A clinical workflow expert should evaluate current workflow and process improvement methodology. A thorough assessment that includes engaging with clinical staff helps hospitals understand the day-to-day issues and prepare it to implement a new solution.
Step 3: Evaluate and Improve
Voalte recommends implementing any new solution in stages beginning with smaller units. This allows hospitals to evaluate and improve the implementation process and eases the transition when the solution is implemented more broadly.
“It can be tempting to integrate multiple systems at the start of a project,” stated Voalte’s vice president of innovation, Trey Lauderdale. “But it is our recommendation to start with a specific group of nursing units and one or two ancillary departments, and then expand as workflows are understood.”
The report concludes that smartphone implementation requires time, coordination and dedication, but the benefits can have a major impact in improving hospital workflow.