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● Dashboard: Nurse Call/Care Team Communications Next-gen Communications

A case for smartphones in the hands of nurses

By Suzanne West, RN, Clinical Solutions Consultant, Amcom Software

T e underlying role of nurses, which is caring for people, will never change. But being a nurse is an ever-evolving job in terms of both the clinical treatment options and the technology used for admin- istering care. In my own career, I’ve transi-

tioned from working directly with patients to helping other nurses. I see so much potential in technology to simplify a nurse’s life and make many tasks a lot easier. One of the

things I’m focused on right now is secure texting with smartphones. How does secure texting help a nurse? Primarily it saves time. For example, a patient calls to ask for a blanket or some water. Instead of tracking down the nursing assistant, it’s so much faster to select a text template and hit “send” to reach him or her. You can create templates for the most common requests such as, “Warm blanket request room ___.” T e only thing to type in is the room number – quick, easy and effi cient. Texting is helpful for other workfl ows, too, like an ED nurse alerting the ICU charge nurse of a new patient headed their way. Perhaps a nurse needs to fi nd lift help to move a patient, to reach a physi- cian for a prescription request or help with an IV start (sometimes it’s necessary for someone else to take a stab, and, yes, pun intended). For these situations, a text template is fast and simple. It’s also quieter than intercoms and overhead announcements. Smartphones can be powerful tools in the hands of nurses. Especially when integrated to the staff directory, they help coordinate care and improve communications, leaving more time for the caring part of our profession at the patient bedside.

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Spectrum Health aims for a pager- free environment with PerfectServe

When your organization consists of 10 hospitals, 170 ambulatory and service sites, and 960 advanced practice providers and employed physicians, you need streamlined communications. Spectrum Health, a not-for-profi t health system

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based in western Michigan and the largest employer in its region, has stepped into the realm of using advanced, unifi ed clinical communications tech- nologies with its recent choice of PerfectServe as its system-wide standard to streamline clinical communications processes. With PerfectServe Clinician-to-Clinician and PerfectServe DocLink, the organization will enable more direct and secure physician- to-physician collaboration while speeding nurse-to-physician com- munication cycle times. “We needed a comprehensive solution that could fold into our long-term vision for improving communications between clinicians while eff ectively managing HIPAA compliance risk,” says Michael Rosencrance, Vice President, Spectrum Health Information Services. Spectrum Health also wanted to create a pager-free environment for its clinical staff , since the organization viewed pagers as a one-way, static communication method. With PerfectServe, physicians and nurses are empowered with secure, two-way communications that enable them to connect with the right clinician at the right time via secure email, phone call, text message or voice message – depending on each clinician’s personal preferences and set communication rules. T e platform also provides a way to track, document and escalate communications should a response not be received in a timely matter, enabling improvements in effi ciency and care coordination. “Industry reform is driving hospitals and health systems to look at ways to become more effi cient at delivering high-quality patient care. With these changes and the fi nal HIPAA ruling in place, healthcare delivery organizations can’t aff ord to ignore the effi ciency gains that can be realized by improving their clinical communication processes in ways that are compliant with their HIPAA security risk mitiga- tion strategies,” says Terry Edwards, CEO, PerfectServe. “Spectrum Health is a great example of how a large organization can tackle these challenges by leveraging innovative technologies to connect clinicians throughout its expanding network of care.”



TIGER releases report on nursing informatics “T e Leadership Imperative: TIGER’s Recommendations for Integrating Technology to Transform

Practice and Education (2014)” is the latest in a series of reports from the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Initiative Foundation. T e series is aimed at identifying what every nurse needs to understand about nursing informatics and balancing the integration of practice and technology into a seamless experience for caregivers and care receivers. Topics covered in the reports to date include standards, competencies, faculty development, usability principles, virtual learning and consumer empowerment. T e new report provides additional insights into how trends and pressures, such as the rapid deployment of technology, the demand for quality, patient engagement, population-based care management and required cost reduction, have accelerated the need for nurse leaders to not only understand these issues, but also maximize the opportunities they present. T e report is available at


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