New technology simplifies complex resident communication workflows

Dr. Randall (Randy) King, CMIO and chief of staff at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, says, “We were probably a pretty standard large community hospital with a bunch of residents who communicated with our physicians, primarily through our operators, a paper call schedule, phone numbers and pagers.”

While the hospital’s communication processes seemed to be standard, internal discussions revealed that text messaging had emerged as a newer, faster, easier way for residents and attendings to connect with each other.

Dr. King continues, “We couldn’t help but notice that [residents] were extremely quick to adopt text messaging. The residents, who are usually closer to the forefront of technology than others in the organization as they’re a younger group…had taken the path of best efficiency and had been texting communications back and forth…because it works.”

However, the IT staff at St. Vincent quickly realized that this “path of best efficiency” was not secure. Because securing protected health information was a priority, the organization immediately began searching for a solution that allowed easy and secure communication between residents, attendings, nurses and other clinicians— and would ultimately benefit their patients by enabling fast and efficient clinical decision making.

Read the full story to learn how Mercy St. Vincent intelligently addressed the need for simplified resident communications.

Care teams benefit from real-time, integrated communication solution

An important clinical communications metric for many hospitals is the ability to reach physicians on the first call attempt. When nurses have to repeatedly call physicians to get answers, it can result in delays in patient care. 

That’s why, after Spectrum Health streamlined clinical communications between physicians in 2014 through PerfectServe, it was soon able to expand access to the technology to nearly 4,000 nursing roles.

“[With PerfectServe] our nurses reach the physician on the first attempt more often,” said Julie Scholten, RN Project manager for nursing administration at Spectrum Health.

In this success story, you’ll hear from Julie and Michelle Wangler, Spectrum’s hospital supervisor, how speeding time-to-treatment created value in nursing roles and other benefits to broader care teams. 

Read Spectrum’s story

Doctors and hospital leadership recognize elevated patient safety and physician satisfaction

When the executive team of West Michigan’s Spectrum Health System, a 12-hospital network of more than 3,000 physicians and 30,000 employees, made the decision to implement PerfectServe’s secure care team collaboration system, Dr. Matthew Denenberg, who serves as Vice President of Medical Affairs (VPMA) of the system’s Helen DeVos Children’s hospital, said it was for all the right reasons.

It wasn’t about being “cutting edge” or increasing the hospitals’ competitive share of the marketplace. The decision came from a shared understanding that it was time to move toward a direct and digital method of communication for the hospital network’s physicians because the old way simply wasn’t working anymore.

“It was unsafe,” Dr. Denenberg said. “And it wasn’t cost effective.”

In addition to his role as VPMA, Dr. Denenberg also serves as an ER physician. That puts him in the unique position of understanding firsthand the angst of hospital staff when facing archaic processes in times of real emergency.

Like many systems of its size, Spectrum maintained paper schedules for all of its physicians. Contact information regarding who to call for any given reason resided either in a book or binder on someone’s desk, or within an un-automated and unintegrated copy-and-paste calendar application.

If schedule changes needed to be made on the fly, instant updates were not an option.

This resulted in wasted time and effort on the part of hospital staff responsible for patient care, which suffered due to communication delays.

“We started seeing a rise in the number of event reports of delayed communications with physicians during time of patient need,” said Denenberg.

It became apparent that the paper-based system was no longer appropriate in today’s era of direct and digital communications.

Read the full story to learn how Spectrum improved patient safety levels and physician satisfaction on the job with intelligent clinical communications.

Intelligent clinical communications are key to transfer center’s success

When the new WellStar Transfer Center in Atlanta went live in August 2013, it was with a clear mission in mind: to enable physicians to communicate quickly, easily and directly so that patient hand-offs could be handled as seamlessly as possible.

In the transfer’s center’s first year, it received more than 2,600 patient transfers but experienced issues when looking to see when and why transfer processes broke down and how often patients were sent to other facilities.

The issues WellStar was facing were not unusual. Administrators had no way of knowing when or why transfers were breaking down or how often patients were being sent to other facilities. They had a sense that there were problems but they could not isolate or quantify them.

No clear-cut, repeatable process existed for fast-tracking connections between referring physicians and the appropriate WellStar clinicians. Communication was always on an ad hoc basis, and depended largely on a paper trail. So WellStar leadership decided to design a whole new system from the ground up.

Learn how, with PerfectServe in place, WellStar Transfer Center leaders were able to track process breakdowns and make lasting protocol improvements that resulted in 90 percent of all transfer coordination communications taking place in five minutes or less.

Read WellStar’s story

Improve on-call cardiac team response time through streamlined communications

St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital is a 535-bed facility, split between two campuses in suburban Detroit. It provides a full array of medical and surgical specialties, including Centers of Excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer care and neurosciences.

In 2007, the hospital began to improve communication process accuracy and reliability across both campuses by using PerfectServe, which automatically identifies and provides an immediate, secure connection to the right care team member for any given clinical situation at any time.

St. John Macomb-Oakland is accredited as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. It has also earned, for its expertise in cardiothoracic surgery with percutaneous coronary intervention, the prestigious three-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

To further focus its efforts on reducing the amount of time between a heart attack patient’s arrival at the hospital and the time they receive treatment, St. John Macomb-Oakland began to look more closely at the cath lab team and protocols for notifying on-call team members.

The national standard of door-to-balloon time states that a healthcare team must proficiently deliver percutaneous coronary intervention in 90 minutes or less—a protocol the St. John Macomb-Oakland team already performs efficiently, typically delivering treatment in 70 minutes or less. Improved door-to-balloon time is a measure of quality that requires the teamwork of several disciplines—one of which is care team communication, an area the hospital recognized could be improved with a more efficient on-call notification system.

Learn how PerfectServe enabled St. John Macomb-Oakland set in motion the consistent evolution of a process that exceeds industry standards and hospitals goals and ultimately redefines the standard of care.

Read the full story

Reduce stroke time-to-treatment with real-time communication technology

Time-to-treatment is critical when dealing with stroke patients. That’s why St. Rita’s Medical Center, the largest hospital in a 70-mile radius from its campus in Lima, OH, decided to address variations in its stroke team response times. 

Like many hospitals of its size, St. Rita’s used the overhead intercom to initiate code team alerts. That process considerably slowed down the stroke team’s response times and delayed critical care milestones.

St. Rita’s knew they needed to streamline this process and equip their stroke team with a more effective alert system. And, they were able to leverage a care team communication technology they already had in place.

“Without PerfectServe, I’m not sure if it would be possible to make our various stroke timelines. This unified, comprehensive platform addresses our needs and secures the communications to the entire code stroke team,” says Jolene Marshall, stroke and neurology resource clinician at St. Rita’s Medical Center.

Find out what timelines St. Rita’s set for delivering treatment to stroke patients and more about how PerfectServe enabled the hospital to reach and exceed patient-safety goals.

Read the full story