As the demand for healthcare services increases, facilities are struggling to keep costs down, decrease wait times, and increase doctor availability. Devices that collect personal medical information are becoming increasingly important for the healthcare industry.
One reason to begin implementing this technology is the Affordable Care Act, which is aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of healthcare. This means more people will begin using doctors, hospitals, and walk-in facilities. This new influx could lead to an increase in stress and pressure for healthcare professionals. To combat this, many are turning to technology to pick up the slack.
Voalte, a clinical communications technology company, said the first thing a healthcare provider should do is combine all of its communication tools into one platform by using a simple device, such as a smartphone. “Using smartphones allow voice, alarm and text messaging to be integrated in one device allowing nurses to respond from any location in the hospital without having to juggle multiple devices,” said Voalte.
This technology is known as mHealth, which is defined as ‘the use of mobile and wireless devices to improve health outcomes, healthcare services, and health research.’ With more than 40,000 applications available for smartphones – users are able to monitor everything from blood pressure levels, pregnancies, and exercise routines themselves. In addition, applications have been developed for nurses and doctors allowing them to monitor patients 24/7 without being in the room with them.
Voalte suggested that hospitals conduct a clinical workflow assessment prior to implementing a new communication tool to see where they can improve and deploy the new system in small stages to ease the transition.
“It can be tempting to integrate multiple systems at the start of a project,” said Try Lauderdale, Voalte’s vice president of innovation. “But it is our recommendation to start with a specific group of nursing units and one or two ancillary departments, and then expand as workflows are understood.”
Edited by Brooke Neuman