How To Realize the Benefits of Real-Time, Integrated Communication

Health System
Spectrum Health System

Grand Rapids Michigan





An important clinical communication metric for many hospitals is the ability to reach physicians on the first call attempt. When nurses must repeatedly call physicians to get answers, it can easily delay patient care. That’s why, after Spectrum Health streamlined clinical communication between physicians by implementing PerfectServe, it was soon able to expand access to the technology for nearly 4,000 nurses. The integrated system of communication services linked through PerfectServe now delivers secure messages to providers on call via web or mobile applications. As a result, the nursing teams at Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit health system based in West Michigan with more than 25,000 employees, now have an efficient, accurate call schedule that enhances patient care.

Reaching the Right Physician

PerfectServe has long been known in the industry for its trademark Dynamic Intelligent Routing® capability. Dynamic Intelligent Routing analyzes call schedules and provider contact preferences to ensure that, with the touch of a button—via the PerfectServe web or mobile app—nurses can be connected to the right care team member who can take action on the clinical situation at hand.

“[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.

Because of this time-saving benefit, nurses receive the information they need from physicians much faster and can accomplish more in a shift. They make fewer phone calls, and receive callbacks more quickly, thanks to streamlined, two-way conversations taking place in one system.

Implementing the Help Chain On Demand

Spectrum Health uses a chain of command policy called the Help Chain to escalate clinical concerns through the appropriate lines of authority for timely resolution. Activating the Help Chain with PerfectServe complements Spectrum Health’s patient safety culture. It allows for faster intervention by clearly identifying who can resolve a clinical concern beyond the attending physician.

“There are a lot of benefits,” said Melissa Wangler, a Hospital Supervisor at Spectrum Health. “When nurses can’t reach an attending or an issue needs to be escalated, the physician executive on call can deal with it in the moment or on follow-up.”

Tracking the Status of Messages

Before using PerfectServe, Spectrum Health nurses relied upon manually managed provider schedules to identify the appropriate provider, make the call, and wait. If they didn’t receive a callback, they would check the computer for recent orders. If they saw the order that addressed their need, they knew the physician had received their message. However, if they didn’t see the order had been placed, they had no recourse except to try and reach the physician again.

With PerfectServe, nurses now have access to a communication interface that allows them to see in real time when their messages have been delivered and read.

“Our bedside nurses don’t have to sit at a desk and wait for a callback,” Scholten said. “PerfectServe enables them to get real-time answers much more efficiently. It takes the guesswork out of coordinating patient care.”

Reaching Physicians from the Bedside

With PerfectServe, nurses can instantly connect with physicians in times of patient need—without ever leaving the bedside.

“Our hospitalists have used patient-centered communications from the beginning of our engagement with PerfectServe,” Wangler said. “And now that nurses and physicians have the same access, I can pull up a patient’s name and see exactly which physicians are listed in the chart for any service I need. I can then reach out to that physician from the patient’s room without ever leaving the conversation.”

Wangler said this has been working so well that the hospital system plans to add more service lines to the platform, paving the way for more point-of-care conversations.

Finally, a Single Source of On-Call Schedule Truth

Ultimately, PerfectServe was able to deliver what Spectrum Health’s nurses wanted: an accurate and reliable system for identifying and contacting on-call providers.

“Whatever we use, it has to have the ability to leverage a call schedule,” Scholten said. “And I think that’s the limiting factor with a lot of tools in the space. When we’re trying to call a physician, we need the ability to get the right person, right now. We wanted one source of truth for our physician call schedules, and PerfectServe is it.”

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