There's no doubt that advancements in technology are helping to revolutionise healthcare by playing a key role in enabling mobile healthcare workers. Clinical mobility, whereby healthcare professionals have access to the data, teams and tools they need to improve patient care and outcomes, has rapidly evolved into an essential communication tool within this environment.
It's clear that staying in constant touch is one of the keys to successful healthcare, points out Quentin Daffarn, MD of UC Wireless. He suggests that the most successful hospitals and healthcare facilities are those that are capable of responding to patients, physicians, nurses and other staff members quickly and accurately.
"As with any other industry, the need to provide high quality, effective and efficient services to customers, in this instance the patients, is a critical driving force here. The onset of value-based care means that more than ever, healthcare workers need to be acutely focused on patient service quality," he says.
"In response to such needs, there are today numerous advanced mobile solutions designed specifically to help eliminate information silos, by providing access to new apps and services and putting the control of critical information directly into the hands of the caregivers.
"Ultimately, top quality healthcare is built on a foundation of technology: it is all about providing clinicians with critical collaboration tools, best-in-class WiFi quality and coverage and real-time access to data, all in a secure mobile device."
Daffarn suggests that a successful solution of this nature requires integrated wireless communication systems that encompass cutting-edge WiFi, wireless communication middleware systems, patient monitoring integration and advanced nurse call solutions.
The latter would need to be integrated for optimal clinical care and maximum staff efficiency, and designed in such a way as to facilitate effective time-critical communication and enhance efficiencies.
Furthermore, the solution would also focus on enabling healthcare facilities to share important patient information, remain notified of critical issues and ensure staff safety.
"In the clinical environment, it is imperative that technology provides the kind of integrated capabilities that can take inputs from a wide array of sources, like various common alarm input-based patient monitoring and ICU equipment, and then link this with a range of other systems.
"This could include lab and radiology results, medication management and messaging from patient care device aggregators. This, then, links to the on-site, specialised wireless phones of the healthcare facility staff, providing them with comprehensive real-time information updates.
"Access to such information will inevitably result in improved patient care and the provision of faster responses to requests and critical changes in vitals. Doctors and other staff not on-site can also receive notifications of critical alerts and patient updates, or obtain lab and radiography results via a secure encrypted smartphone interface. Not only does this speed up reaction times to emergencies, but it makes it easier to schedule treatments and ensure correct and timeous delivery of medicines to patients."
Daffarn adds that it's possible to implement a system whereby a single smartphone can be used for everything from code calls to personal communications; these smart devices can be used to replace pagers for wide area/off-site coverage and means employees only need to carry a single device.
"Staff work patterns can now be made more efficient and there is little need for a PA system within the facility, thus reducing overhead noise and providing a quiet and healing environment. Most crucially, of course, a reliable system of this nature ensures critical communication such as code calls reach the correct staff response teams instantly and simultaneously.
"Unified communications (UC) solutions are often touted as the answer to many of the challenges faced by big business, but it is clear from this discussion that UC holds just as much potential to fundamentally change the lives of both healthcare workers and patients for the better," he concludes.