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.