Alcatel-Lucent – Optimizing the patient care pathway: A four step transformation towards a next generation Healthcare Communication System

By Alcatel-Lucent

The need to improve long term quality care for patients is a main driver behind consolidations occurring in healthcare.  It’s happening in multiple forms ranging from grouping some regional hospital resources, to activities based on merger and acquisition amongst hospitals, including IS/IT resources.

As someone on the technology side but who engages with healthcare providers regularly, what I’m seeing is that technology, via a modular communication architecture, enables a smooth and affordable transformation of a care pathway for patients, physicians and nurses. This might just be the next holy grail for patient care.

Cost is the biggest healthcare issue that most countries face in 2016 and possibly beyond. This means transformation and digitalization of communications is an opportunity to improve profitability by encouraging ambulatory surgery, while meeting increasing demands for acute activity.

Following are four steps to explain how technology can help create the possibility for successful patient care.

Step 1: Transform the core of your real-time communication infrastructure with redundancy based on minimized recovery time objectives (RTO)

Migrate your telephony infrastructure to IP to save on WAN costs.
In order to maintain the exact same 99.999% availability for telephony services, the communication servers may remain in each hospital and may be virtualized. Consequently, it is recommended to centralize the management. As a single image of all the systems can be offered, this results in additional savings on system management costs.

Step 2: Secure and track the patient ’s progress, location and status in the form of calls or text based notifications to nurses

Nursing staff may represent up to 50% of the hospital staff. Communication challenges for the nursing role have always carried a cost in terms of lost productivity, insufficient time with patients and longer lengths of stay.

Notification services may encompass a wide number of forms ranging from nurse calls to patient wandering detection. A notification system should take into account situational awareness such as location, calendar or availability.

To further improve nurse services you may also include instant messaging capabilities between the nurse and the physicians smart phones, this would unlock the discharge processes while managing time-sensitive interruptions.

Open APIs could also integrate hospital applications, creating powerful workflows that add a richer context to the notification workflows.

These applications can be rolled out in the data center and provide flexible and secure alarm workflows to mobile nurses across all the hospital locations. 

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