Communications platform gains efficiencies, cuts discharge time at Avera Health

In one case, 100 percent of Avera's respiratory therapists missed at least one therapy or medication order per day by at least 30 minutes – now, with the new platform, only 11 percent of therapists per day miss an order by that time.
By Bill Siwicki
02:16 PM
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Communications platform gains efficiencies, cuts discharge time at Avera Health

RESULTS

Time to discharge at one hospital has dropped from three hours, 22 minutes in May-June 2014 to two hours, 57 minutes in FY18. And for improved patient care, the number of times respiratory therapy reported late or missed medications dropped by a factor of 10.

"Before Voalte, printed orders or searching the EHR were the only way for respiratory therapists to know when a new order had been issued," Friestad said.

"They needed to check the printer or a PC for orders every few minutes, but often found it difficult to allocate the time to do this," she explained. "A pre-Voalte implementation survey revealed that 100 percent of Avera's respiratory therapists missed at least one therapy or medication order per day by at least 30 minutes, a number that includes patient refusals."

As part of the Voalte Platform implementation, order notifications were immediately sent to the responsible therapist's smartphone. The result: Since the platform rollout in 2015, only 11 percent of respiratory therapists per day now miss an order by 30 minutes – nearly 10 times fewer than before, and this metric includes those patients that refuse a treatment.

"Another example of how we're using this technology to improve efficiency and reduce wait times for patients involves our discharge process," she said. "Once a discharge order is entered into the EHR, Voalte Platform leverages Connexall middleware to simultaneously send it to the unit, charge and bedside nurses, pharmacist and pharmacy tech, respiratory therapy, case management, and social workers."

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

"One key piece of installing this technology is the teamwork required with clinicians and information technology to assure a robust wireless and security infrastructure that the system can rely on," said Friestad.

"In addition, to involve your bedside caregivers and other users in the setup for improving their workflow. It's especially important to make sure the directory is easy to use, supports clinical workflows and helps standardize communication across disciplines, and in Avera's case, across hospitals and other healthcare facilities that are in multiple states."

Another key consideration is setting up appropriate pathways for communication handoffs and alarm and alert filtering to smartphones to avoid miscommunication and expedite responses to time-sensitive messages, she added.

With the platform, Avera Health nurses, other healthcare professionals and physicians spend less time trying to communicate with each other and more time caring for their patients, she concluded.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com