Smart Hospital, Resilient Organisation

Vocera Communications
By Benjamin Kanter, MD, FCCP Chief Medical Information Officer, Vocera
Wednesday, 02 February, 2022

Health Information Technology Can Enable Organisational Resilience

Clinical and operational systems push out notifications about patient care events: a patient is deteriorating, is about to fall, or has pressed the nurse call button.

For care teams to respond effectively to notifications from multiple different systems, the hospital’s digital infrastructure must be able to rapidly convert this data into actionable information.

The ability to respond rapidly characterises hospitals that successfully navigate crises and is a major factor in what makes an organisation resilient.

A smart hospital leverages its digital infrastructure to continuously derive insight from its systems and rapidly address operational and clinical challenges.

Information Must Be Communicated to Be Acted Upon

But deriving insight is not enough. Information must be communicated if it is to be acted upon. This is why a modern clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) platform is foundational infrastructure for a smart hospital.

Rapid sharing of organisational knowledge is critical because most problems that arise during patient care are event-driven and time-dependent. Without a modern CC&C platform, connections in the information chain depend upon fallible staff members, and this fallibility can introduce opportunities for communication delay or failure. If knowledge sharing is delayed, the consequences can be profound for both the patient and the organisation. For example, the length of time taken to rescue patients with unexpected clinical deterioration has been correlated with poorer outcomes, including excess days in the ICU and increased mortality rates.

To Shorten Time to Act and Intervene, Communication Is Essential

Smart hospitals enable caregivers to shorten their time to act and intervene by integrating systems with a comprehensive communication platform.

Most health information technology systems implemented in hospitals can send notifications about the status of a patient or the monitoring system itself. Unfortunately, these systems are often siloed, resulting in an excessive number of uncoordinated notifications while contributing to cognitive overload and burnout.

The Solution: Break Down Silos Through CC&C Interoperability

The solution is a CC&C platform that can receive and analyze data from multiple systems and orchestrate the necessary actions. Smart hospitals require a solution that can make sense out of chaos, ensuring data is converted into information and distributed efficiently.

At the most basic level, a CC&C platform includes three elements: inputs, a processing layer, and outputs.

Inputs come from clinical and operational systems that send messages and alarm notifications. The Vocera CC&C platform has more than 150 integrations with health IT systems through the Vocera Engage intelligent workflow engine; those integrations serve as input to the main platform’s processing layer.

The processing layer aggregates data streaming in from the various systems. It breaks down silos so data from independent sources can be merged and processed together using a system of rules. If a rule determines that information needs to be transmitted, the system routes it to the right person or team based upon role, responsibility, and availability. The same platform constructs an audit trail and provides analytics and reporting.

Given data feeds from staff assignment systems, EHRs, and digital on-call schedules, the Vocera system creates and maintains a real-time care team directory for each patient. It tracks who’s currently working, their role, which patients they’re caring for, and their availability. Maintenance of this up-to-the-moment care team is crucial to the outputs — delivering the right information to the right people and helping to reduce interruption fatigue.

An optimal CC&C platform integrates with multiple different systems, processes data, and intelligently distributes information to those responsible for acting. As a direct result, hospitals become more efficient and patient outcomes are improved, while communication burdens for physicians and nurses are reduced.

Image credit: ©

Originally published here.

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