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Becker’s Hospital Review: “The art of critical communications for staffing during hospital emergencies”


This week, Becker’s Hospital Review featured a great article from our customer, Maureen DiTore, Director of Telecommunications at The Valley Hospital, and Claudia Dent, Everbridge’s Vice President of Product Management. The full article, “The art of critical communications for staffing during hospital emergencies”, can be found here.

In the piece, Maureen and Claudia detail how The Valley Hospital automated and “revamped its communication strategy and system” by deploying Everbridge (which ultimately helped eliminate communication gaps during both emergency and non-emergency events). This is a common theme for many of our healthcare customers, and the article does a nice job describing how hospitals can use Everbridge to ensure that physicians and nurses can efficiently and securely communicate with each other to avoid confusion, ensure fluid staffing and on-call scheduling and successfully navigate clinical and operational emergency situations with minimal missteps.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

The traditional method of staffing for a hospital on any given day or week is manual and time consuming. This is especially true during on-call scenarios, when a nurse or administrator has to get the scheduling book and see who is on call, whether or not he/she just came off a shift and if he/she has the required clinical experience. From there, they have to dial each and every person, hoping that they not only pick up, but that they are available to work.

Traditional methods for staffing and communications are barely good enough for a “normal” day, let alone a major emergency like Hurricane Sandy, which pummeled New York and New Jersey in 2012. Let’s take just one example regarding the importance of mobile communications and messaging. During these critical events, physicians and nurses are even more likely to leverage various communication methods and devices to collaborate with each other, control situations and ensure effective patient care is delivered under duress. Compliance regulations, such as HIPAA, are even more burdensome during these situations, and healthcare professionals desire solutions that enable them to use their mobile devices to send messages quickly, securely and in compliance.

At The Valley Hospital, the critical communications revamp was centered on the hospital operations resource center, which is responsible for staffing all clinical areas. By thinking critically and collaboratively to create a strategic plan and completely automating its critical communications process, The Valley Hospital was able to ensure fluid staffing throughout Hurricane Sandy and the storm’s fallout, as well as on a day-to-day basis.

Today, the hospital knows who is on-call each day and its system sends out automated messages to that particular group on multiple devices, including mobile. It can even filter those messages based on a staff member’s credentials. For example, if a nurse with a critical care background is needed to work the second shift and has been off duty for at least 12 hours, The Valley Hospital can find and communicate with that person in seconds.

With many critical communication systems, “spamming” is often a major complaint among staff, but The Valley Hospital has avoided that by adopting a first-come, first-serve approach. Once a spot is filled, all messaging stops.

What once took an hour or two — to manually look through files or on-call books to find the right staff members — now takes The Valley Hospital less than five minutes to complete.

You can read more about The Valley Hospital, in the whitepaper, Staffing and Coordination for Hospitals Best Practices.

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