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Enhance Clinicians’ Ability to Focus on Direct Patient Care

Grace Hospital in Ohio is commonly known as a high stress and high fatigue environment. Operating as a not-for-profit hospital, within a hospital, Grace handles patients with the most complex and serious cardiac conditions. While they only staff experienced and dedicated individuals, all four hospitals suffered from alarm fatigue, a struggling budget, and strained communication.

 

Alarm Fatigue and its Dangers

 

What is alarm fatigue? This term describes the kind of burnout that affects nurses and clinicians in a high stress environment. Seemingly, every minute of every day, alarms go off in a hospital - given that just about every patient monitoring equipment has an alarm. It often becomes difficult for nurses to differentiate between important, non-emergency alarms, and emergency alarms.

 

HipLink leads the way in providing solutions to this problem. With our technology, alerts are sent to nurses’ smartphones as an alarm goes off. This allows the nurse to immediately see the severity of the alarm and the choice to respond to it. HipLink’s secure messaging system also maintains patient confidentiality, while giving nurses the equipment they need to do their job.

 

High Costs for a Non-Profit

 

Fighting alarm fatigue was based on two main resources of Grace Hospital: cost and manpower. The nursing profession, always in-demand, created a recruiting challenge for Grace Hospital. This was due to its four locations and highly specific work. Given that the hospital is a not-for-profit organization, gathering funding presented a challenge for its less than ideal budget and this affected manpower conditions. Without money to invest in larger technological solutions, the hospital turned to staff members to ease the burden.


The hospital’s solution included setting up a “war room.” From there, clinicians monitored all alerts. When a crisis arose, they directed the nurses to answer it. While this solution was imperfect, it was better than nothing. Unfortunately, it ate into the budget and produced an unnecessary delay in treatment.

 

Now that HipLink and other services presented by AT&T are on the floor, these war rooms aren’t needed. This saves the hospital money by easing staffing problems. Nurses work the floor instead of being on monitoring duty. More gets done and individual patient care goes back to being the main focus.

 

Communication is Critical

 

Grace Hospital now faced the final hurdle of poor communication as the hospital was spread out over four locations. Moreover, each location was housed in a hospital-within-a-hospital. This posed unique challenges to communication. AT&T worked with Grace Hospital to set up a virtual private network that saved them money and supported HipLink messaging.

 

Not-for-profit hospitals like Grace Hospital face mounting obstacles to get the cutting-edge technology that they need. Ohio’s Cleveland area is better served now that Grace Hospital’s four locations are linked. Saving money on monitoring and cutting down on alarm fatigue allows nurses to put their focus back on individual patient care.

 

 

Read our Case Study on Grace Hospital & HipLink HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transforming Healthcare with Mobile Health Technology

 

Mobile health technology is transforming the entire healthcare system. The combination of innovative data analytics and mobile technologies are simplifying the methods used by healthcare professionals from the patient care experience to healthcare administration.

 

Healthcare providers faced obstacles with mobile health technology lacking essential protective measures as they relate to shared patient information, ensuring conformity of mobile devices with EMRs, and concluding which apps were the safest and most effective.  Today, the efficacy of mobile health technology has proven successful.  With access to a fully optimized, real-time, reliable mobile health app, healthcare providers have immediate access to vital information and the ability to share it with other pertinent team members. 

 

The Future Is Now

 

The 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Study consisted of 238 respondents who suggested that healthcare organizations are widely beginning to deploy mobile technologies with the aim of engaging patients within their organizations. Importantly, many of the respondents cited a need to fully optimize and leverage the diverse capabilities offered by mobile technology and platforms.  For example, almost 90% of respondents reported maintaining mobile devices to engage patients at their organizations. In addition, 47% of respondents indicated that implementing mobile services for access to information is a high priority in the future.

 

The prevalence of mobile technology in the health care industry is rapidly increasing as programs and applications for smartphones and tablets have progressively advanced. Mobile health technology (commonly referred to as mHealth) possesses the capability to improve patient care and boost efficiency of the staff and procedures.

 

In order to successfully incorporate mobile health technology into an organization, healthcare administrators must ensure that the app meets certain criteria:

 

1.    Does it offer timely and immediate access to information, whenever and wherever?

2.    Is it able to perform multiple tasks efficiently without having to switch from app-to-app?

3.    Is it organized to provide current, accurate, unbiased, relevant, and essential content during moments of care?

4.    Does it allow healthcare providers to receive and review the information they need, when and how they need it?

5.    Does it seamlessly connect with EMR (or EHR)?

6.    Does it help healthcare providers be more productive in and out of the office?

 

By using a mobile device to input data and update patient charts, a healthcare provider is able to spend more time with the patient and less time on the computer. 

 

Secure Text Messaging

 

Secure Text Message (STM) is used for securely sending and receiving texts and picture messages with an assortment of other mobile devices and workstations in a HIPAA-compliant manner.  Secure text messages are encrypted while being transmitted to meet the protection requirements PHI (Patient Health Information). 

 

By implementing an STM app, a healthcare team can communicate with colleagues in real time to rapidly address the needs of a patient.  Speeding up the process of ordering tests, lab results, and medications, affords the healthcare provider more time for more patients. 

 

HipLink offers an outstanding secure text messaging platform that works in real-time on Apple or Android phones.  The user can send secure text messages, encrypted for HIPAA compliance for both messages and attachments from a desktop computer and directly from the phone. HipLink Mobile provides a highly reliable and secure text messaging system.  Even if a user is not logged in, HipLink will alert the user and give them the option to login quickly. The sender will know the status of the message in all cases, whether it is pending, delivered, when it is read, and any responses – either phone-to-phone or desktop-to-phone.

 

By using Transport Layer Security (TLS), HipLink ensures the confidentiality of messages at the highest level of HIPAA compliance.  A very distinct feature HipLink has developed is a “single session” handshake process.  With this method, the TLS encryption key is constantly changing for each and every communications session between the HipLink server and the device.  This makes cracking the encryption virtually impossible as the key is constantly regenerating with each communication. 

 

Additional Features

 

HipLink also offers several other standard and advanced features with the Secure Text Messaging app.  Some of these features include:

 

  • Use message templates to promptly compose new messages and spend less time typing
  • Control your status by toggling between the “available” and “not available” mode
  • Quickly silence or mute all pre-defined alert setting for all severities to vibrate
  • Attach location coordinates
  • Execute pre-programmed custom commands and templates
  • Full administration and management controls
  • Draft messages, set Favorites, define alert tones
  • Streamlined workflows offer efficient functionality for all tasks

 

 

By incorporating HipLink mobile health technology into a healthcare organization, not only does the organization operate more effectively and efficiently, the satisfaction, engagement, and care of patients is vastly improved.  For more information about our mobile health technology including HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging, visit HipLink or call 1-800-524-7503.  

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The Joint Commission’s New Position on Patient Care through Text Messaging

 

 

On April 29th, 2016, the Joint Commission announced its new position on patient care through text messaging. This is a tremendous step forward in healthcare communication and will improve many aspects of patient care. At this time, physicians or licensed independent practitioners are able to text orders for patient care, treatment, services to the hospital, or other health care settings if they are using a secure text messaging platform.

 

The initial stance was that text messaging was not considered safe enough to use in healthcare settings due to unsecured text messages being transmitted via personal mobile phones. Additionally, the validation of information was difficult to obtain, as was the identity of the person sending the messages. The technology was simply not considered adequate to support a safe and secure use of text messaging for orders.

 

Times have changed however and there has been an incredible increase in secure text messaging platforms that address many of the concerns that the Joint Commission faced in the past.

 

The Joint Commission fully supports secure text messaging as long as the following is implemented:

 

·         A secure sign-on process

·         Messages have to be encrypted

·         Delivery and read receipts need to be incorporated

·         All orders have to be date and time stamped

·         Customized message retention time frames

·         Specified contact list for individuals authorized to receive and record orders

 

Furthermore, hospitals and other accredited organizations that plan to incorporate text orders must develop a verification process documenting the capabilities of their secure text messaging platform and define when text orders are either appropriate or not appropriate. They must also monitor how frequently text messaging orders are being used and assess the compliance with texting policies and procedures. In addition, they have to develop risk-management strategies, perform risk assessments, and conduct training for staff and licensed independent practitioners.

 

Although the topic is on texting orders, the Joint Commission expects that all forms of texting, including patient updates or other patient information is also used within secure text messaging platforms. They also noted that all accredited organizations must have policies that document text messages in an electronic health record- either electronically or manually.

 

By implementing HIPAA-compliant and secure text messaging, a healthcare team can connect with colleagues in real time and address patients’ needs quicker. They can order lab results, medications, or X-Rays, allowing the healthcare team to see more patients. A pharmacy may be able to receive text orders directly based on test results. The efficiently this can bring if implemented safely and securely can mean a great deal for patient satisfaction and help decrease staff burnout. 

 

HipLink® Mobile meets all of the requirements set forth by the Joint Commission and was developed to alleviate some of the communication challenges in the healthcare environment. Our HIPAA compliant, encrypted mobile application makes it incredibly easy to send full patient details and coordinate proper patient care. This can dramatically improve workflow and enable fast and accurate communication with ease. The physician or nurse can send secure text messages and attachments from a desktop and directly from the phone.  It's like a HIPAA compliant chat application.

 

With HipLink Mobile, the healthcare team is connected to the server in real-time and able to transmit reliable and fast messages. When one of the healthcare team members is not logged in, HipLink will automatically alert them to re-log in. The sender will always know the exact status of their messages, whether pending or delivered, and when they are read, along with any response, whether it is phone-to-phone or from the desktop to phone.

 

In addition to client applications, there are several features for Remote Device Management from the HipLink administrative interface that is built in the HipLink Mobile Application. An administrator can take action to disable access, delete data and enforce General Policy for all of their Users.

 

 

To read more about HipLink®’s, HIPAA compliant, encrypted mobile application, please click here

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