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Vertical Industry Communications: Inpatient Health Care: Page 3 of 3

Exception Management Cycle

Beyond the structured events of ADT and treatment management, unplanned events or exceptions drive much communications in inpatient care. Examples include out‐of‐tolerance patient indicators, code calls for stat response teams, other types of alerts, and patient requests. To date, health care organizations have addressed these effectively using audible alarms, overhead paging, hallway lights, and electronic paging. However, these methods have several challenges. First, the exception notification doesn’t always reach the best, correct, or most proximate staff. And secondly, many of these tools aren’t two‐way solutions, so a timely response may not be assured and repetitive calling or alerting may be needed.

UC is significantly improving these processes with the application of software, presence indications, and mobile devices. With UC, care givers can find the best resource immediately and send a secondary notification to that resource. And mobile devices allow for two‐way communication to confirm timely responses or to start an escalation if the requested care team member cannot respond or declines the request.

When a care provider needs additional assistance or consultation, the UC tools already mentioned for ADT and treatment management are available to find and communicate with those team members. Note that the current primary notification tools -- audible and visual alerts -- can remain in place for regulatory compliance, but UC will enhance the ability of the care providers to respond most appropriately.

These processes are represented by the Production Usage Profile, reflecting the necessary procedural nature of the processes, for quality, safety, and regulatory compliance.

UC benefits in these areas are primarily an improvement in patient care both through reduced response times to alerts and exceptions and through faster access to supportive or consultative resources. Some reduction in errors is also a likely outcome from these UC improvements. Also, since communication events can be logged automatically, regulatory compliance is enhanced.

Summary

In summary, inpatient care is being significantly improved with UC tools. These improvements are available immediately and are even more effective for those hospitals that are advanced on the EHR adoption scale, since UC solutions can take advantage of EHR information. For example, current care provider assignments for each patient are available in the EHR to support all three of the process groups defined above.

Important to note is that communications for inpatient health care must be seen and understood as being unified with the processes and with the application software (ADT, EHR, and ancillary systems) rather than being a unification of all types of communications tools. Exceptional communications for inpatient health care will be provided through communications platform as a service, or CPaaS, rather than through UCaaS.

BCStrategies is an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.