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they did not use mobile technology. • Increased point-of-care charting beyond the automated vital-signs acquisition by 20 percent.

Trey Lauderdale is vice president of innovation, Voalté. For more on Voalté:

Stop and think about the amount of information and power that is in the palm of your hand when you hold a smart device. From the smartphone, you can facilitate

multiple forms of instant communication with the touch of a button. Whether it’s an instant message, a phone call, a voice message, a FB chat, a group message, a tweet or a check-in, communication occurs in formats that many of us could not have imagined four to fi ve years ago.

The same technology that facilitates communication in the consumer space has begun to fundamentally change the way we communicate in the healthcare arena. Just as we have the potential to overload ourselves in our personal means of communication, we must be careful to design and plan for proper and formal communication in the healthcare space, or we risk falling into the same communication traps we see with pagers and VoIP phones. Truthfully, it is not possible to simply give smartphones to everyone at the hospital and expect the technology to work like a plug-and-play system. Traditional hospital com- munications systems have been built over many years, a little at a time, and upgrades have not occurred across the board throughout the entire hospital.

The end result is often a massive communications conun- drum that needs to be addressed throughout multiple layers of hospital departments and management levels. This, in itself, can be a deterrent to many hospitals when faced with the tough decisions of whether to ditch the badges and pagers for smartphones. However, there are safe, trustworthy and effi cient com- munications options for hospital administrators and IT man- agers to consider. Some solutions can address not only the smartphone’s ability to combine voice, text and alarm func- tions into one device, but can also be combined with existing hospital infrastructure and systems, making implementation as seamless as possible.

Smart devices improve the ability of nurses and clinicians to receive presence-based texts, alarms and VoIP alerts in real time, eliminating the need to be tied to a desktop computer or land-line phone. The one-device system also eliminates excess noise and confusion that occurs with multiple devices, and not only improves communication but ultimately means improved patient safety.

Hospitals are increasingly hearing from doctors and nurses clamoring for the ability to use their smartphones at the point of care to help them improve communications, effi ciencies and safety. It’s not a question of if hospitals need to move into the realm of smartphones at the point of care for their clinicians, doctors and staff; it’s a matter of when.

HMT 19

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