Hospital unveils mobile phone technology for staff.

February 13, 2018

Hospital unveils mobile phone technology for staff.

LUDINGTON — Beginning tomorrow, nurses, doctors, technologists and other staff members at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital will use mobile phone technology to communicate internally to enhance patient services. The mobile phones are part of a technology pilot program that the Ludington hospital and Pennock Hospital in Hastings are conducting for the Spectrum Health system. It is expected that the use of mobile devices will be used throughout all of Spectrum Health in the future for secure internal clinical communications.

The mobile devices that will go live at Ludington hospital on Wednesday, February 14 are iPhones offered through communications company, Voalte. The phones will allow specific hospital staff users to place calls or send secure text messages to other physicians, nurses, technologists and other staff members as part of their patient workflows. Using the phones, staff can identify rosters of personnel by unit, role or patient room assignments and send group messages to all pertinent staff at once that need to receive communication. Charge nurses can assign tasks or message specific team members based on availability, as shown on the mobile devices. Nurses can text physicians and advanced practice providers to gain more immediate feedback on questions or concerns.

“The Voalte application and use of cell phone technology for patient care is going to really enhance our internal communication abilities,” said Jeremy Vronko, information services manager at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “This in turn is going to help us improve patient services. Cell phone usage has become routine in nearly all aspects of life, so that alone is not very unique or innovative. What is innovative, however, is the use of this available technology to enhance our ability to care for patients. As our direct patient care workers tend to be very mobile in doing their jobs every day, we need solutions for mobile communications that can keep up. Our patients will benefit from our ability to securely and quickly communicate with each other.”

The iphones equipped with the Voalte application operate on a secure, private network,” Vronko said. This, along with encrypted technology whereby every user has a specific login, makes them secure. “The phones are compliant with all federal patient privacy laws,” said Vronko. “They are unusable except to the person to whom they are assigned and, in fact, do not connect via cell phone towers. We take patient data security very seriously, and the Voalte phones are completely secure and compliant.”

“There are many ways our staff will utilize this mobile technology,” said Helen Johnson, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FACHE, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “The phones can identify every member on a care team for a particular patient. So if the charge nurse needs to communicate about that patient’s status, he or she can send out a group text message and see when each team member reads it. In this way, communication is streamlined for faster service to our patients and their families. And, it gives the sender of the message the necessary reassurance that the message was indeed received.”

“The main issue we want patients and family members to know is that if a staff member is seen texting or making a phone call in a patient room on a mobile device, be assured they are using it for work–related purposes,” said Johnson. “Staff has been trained on the use of the cell phones and know that personal correspondence has to take place on breaks or outside of work.”

Departments and staff that will initially be included in using the devices are: inpatient units and hospitalists, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, emergency department staff and providers, surgery and anesthesia providers, environmental and nutrition services, information services, rehabilitation and diagnostic services, materials management and clinical quality departments and patient registration areas.


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