Hospital reduces damaging noise with direct communication technologies

One hospital instituted a new way to tackle old noise problems that pose safety risks to patients by using technology to enable more direct communication between caregivers--eliminating many noise sources, according to a Hospitals & Health Networks article.

Leaders at Inspira Health Network, a nonprofit healthcare system comprised of three hospitals in southern New Jersey, wanted to reduce the number of overhead pages, which were a consistent complaint among patients, according to the authors Gregory Herman, M.D., chief medical information officer at Inspira, and Brian Biddulph-Krentar, chief technology officer at HIT Application Solutions.

So, the health system replaced its broadcast system with direct communication between physicians and patients--doctors can be reached on their cell phones, as well as customized messages. Inspira reduced its average callback time from 20 minutes to a matter of seconds in most cases, authors write, while improving patient and provider satisfaction by reducing noise.

Several departments also set up automated appointment reminders to decrease manual calls and follow-ups, sending relevant information to the users preferred format (phone, text message or email), according to the article. This prevents alert fatigue among patients and allows them to easily confirm or reschedule appointments.

The health system plans to use more automated alerts and text messaging in the future, as well as integrating an app that allows doctors to send or receive HIPAA-compliant information by either computer or personal devices, authors write. Nurses will also be able to contact doctors through secure texts rather than pagers, reducing noise levels even further.

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