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Texas Children's Hospital receives award for applying technology in new ways

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HOUSTON, July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas Children's Hospital announced today that they have received the "Most Wired Innovator" Award from Hospitals and Healthcare Networks, the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association, for the pediatric hospital's Rapid Communication System, a comprehensive communication system for its mobile healthcare workers.  The Most Wired Innovator Award is given annually to three hospitals that apply technology in new and innovative ways to more effectively serve their patients, staff and communities.

Texas Children's also received the publication's "Most Wired" designation, given to hospitals that lead the way in technological integration at all levels. The recognition is determined by the publication's annual benchmark survey of hospitals and healthcare systems nationwide.

"This year's Most Wired organizations exemplify progress through innovation," says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. "The hospital field can learn from these outstanding organizations ways that IT can help to improve efficiency."

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Health Care's Most Wired Survey.  In that time, hospitals and health care systems have made great strides in establishing the basic building blocks for creating robust clinical information systems aimed at improving patient care. This includes adopting technologies to improve patient documentation, advance clinical decision support and evidence-based protocols, reduce the likelihood of medication errors, and rapidly restore access to data in the case of a disaster or outage.

"Everything we do ultimately supports Texas Children's mission to provide world class patient care and the Rapid Communication System enables our staff to be more present and accessible to our patients," said Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services.  "We have already seen many benefits as a result of staff having multiple communication options such as phone, text and alarms and being able to communicate with groups as well as individuals."

The Rapid Communication System is a comprehensive solution for all mobile health care workers at Texas Children's Hospital using a single, commercially available Apple iPhone device and a proprietary application from Voalte, a mobile healthcare communications company. The system allows the hospital to consolidate several individual functions including voice communication; two-way text messaging; alarm queues with priority status and automatic escalation features; staff availability and duty status indicators; and organization directory access. Staff can use any device by simply picking one up and logging in at the beginning of a shift.  Introduced in 2010, the system will completely replace all other communication devices at the hospital by the end of 2013.

According to Davis, the Rapid Communications System has already significantly improved communication at Texas Children's Hospital by better enabling group and individual exchanges and by providing access to detailed information on colleague availability and work status.  

"With the new Rapid Communication System, our nurses are able to quickly and efficiently respond to patient needs," said Emily Weber, director of nursing in the Newborn Center at Texas Children's Hospital. "It streamlines our communication by enabling us to see which nurses are on duty at any given time so that we can make them available where they are most needed. This greatly enhances our overall productivity."

The information services team will receive this award in San Diego on July 25-27 at the 2013 Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit, where senior executives from the nation's leading hospitals and health systems will discuss the critical issues facing their organizations and network to find the solutions they need to be more successful.

"It is an honor to lead the information services team at Texas Children's Hospital.  The team is always looking for new ways to innovate, allowing us to provide world-class patient care.  I am so proud of the team and what they have accomplished with this project over the past year," adds Davis.


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