Messaging app saves hospital $2M

“The application feels like it is designed specifically for our nurses and physicians.”
By Eric Wicklund
10:41 AM
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At a time when hospital officials around the country are looking for proof that mHealth-based communication tools will help them save money, officials at LibertyHealth's Jersey City Medical Center are offering hard figures.

The 300-bed hospital, which implemented the Practice Unite smartphone messaging app roughly one year ago to improve clinical communications, recently reported that the program has saved at least $2 million.

“The application feels like it is designed specifically for our nurses and physicians,” said Joseph Scott, LibertyHealth's president and chief executive officer, in a press release touting the savings. Scott added that "adoption has exceeded our expectations." 

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Hospital officials broke down the savings in three areas:

  1. Physicians reported a 20 percent faster discharge rate thanks to improved communications, resulting in savings of about $720,000.
  2. Hospital officials say they saved about $120,000 per active physician by avoiding "referral leakage." In other words, by using the Practice Unite app physicians were able to more quickly meet the needs of their patients and keep them in the hospital network, rather than having them switch to someone outside the network.
  3. Surgeons reported that response times to clinical queries dropped from 2-4 hours to 15-30 minutes, while Emergency Department officials reported moving patients through the ED 30 minutes faster, reducing delays by as much as 15 percent.

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Practice Unite is the first app in the arsenal of Navio Health, a Newark, N.J.-based startup that debuted in February 2013, and Jersey City Medical Center was the company's beta tester and first client (they've since added four more). In an mHealth News story last June, company and hospital officials foresaw a vast improvement in hospital communications over the old methods of paging systems, e-mails or a shout down the hallway.

This article was first published on mHealth News, a sister publication of Healthcare IT News.

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