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Healthcare Communication Software with the Patient at the Center

Posted on September 12, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was recently at the KLAS Digital Health Investment Summit where I met a ton of great people. One of those people was Brent Lang, CEO of Vocera. I have a long history with Vocera, but I’d never had a chance to meet Brent in person. As fate would have it, we sat down by each other at the opening dinner and had a great conversation about our overlapping connections, about Vocera, and the healthcare communications market in general.

Of all the insights Brent shared, I couldn’t stop thinking about his comment that Vocera was working hard to make the patient be the center of all their communication.

I’m sure some critics out there might wonder why the patient wasn’t at the center to start. Notice that he didn’t say that they were putting the patient at the center of their work. Knowing them as I have, I think they’ve been putting the patient first for a long time. However, as I understand it, Brent is suggesting a paradigm shift in how provider communication is designed.

Here are my thoughts on what he was saying. It makes sense when you’re first designing their popular Vocera badge communication (1 million+ badges) why most of the communication would be focused around the providers. The goal of those communication devices was to enhance provider communication. The nurse and doctors needed an “inbox” for their messages so they could read or listen and reply as needed. Having the providers at the center of those communications makes a lot of sense. The technology was looking to replace things like pagers and overhead speakers and it did that well.

The challenge comes as Vocera has taken on more and more communication modalities. Vocera now has secure text messaging, alarms and alerts, and integrations with a wide variety of clinical and EHR systems. Many of these messages need to be sent to a wide variety of providers and which provider needs the message can change over time. It’s no longer a one to one communication that’s needed. Plus, the history of messages for a specific patient across multiple platforms and multiple providers can be as valuable as the specific, in the moment message. Thus the need to put patients at the center of the messaging.

It’s a powerful idea that a provider could see all the messages for a patient in one location. It is probably how messaging should have always been done, but the implementation of technology is an iterative thing. If you try and do everything you end up doing nothing. It’s great to see Vocera iterating in a way that puts the patient at the center of their communication platform.

As I thought about this change, I wondered what other healthcare IT systems should have the patient at the center. It’s actually hard to think of healthcare IT applications where the patient is at the center. EHRs are largely focused around the provider workflow and not the patient. Some of them are trying to make this shift too. We do see it happening with new healthcare IT companies. I advise a company called CareCognitics that is an example of a company that puts the patient at the center. I recently wrote about Patient Directed that puts the patient at the center as well. It will be interesting to see which older healthcare IT companies adapt and put the patient at the center like Vocera is doing and which new companies come along with this paradigm shift built in.

Healthcare Communication with Candice Friestad, Director Informatics at Avera Health

Posted on June 25, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Ensuring proper communication in healthcare has become an incredibly important topic in every hospital and healthcare system. No doubt much of this has been pushed along by doctors, nurses, and patients use of mobile communication in their personal lives. The explosion of communication technology has been a challenge for many organizations who are stuck with legacy infrastructure, but it also provides a tremendous opportunity to improve healthcare communication over all.

We saw this first hand at the HIMSS 2018 conference when we talked with Candice Friestad, Director Informatics at Avera Health. She joined us at the Voalte booth to talk about their choice to use the Voalte platform in their organization. Candice also talked about what surprises they experienced when implementing the Voalte platform and their users’ reaction to it.

Beyond that, Candice talked about how Voalte allowed them to more easily find various providers and avoid the phone tag that’s common in many healthcare organizations. Candice also shared how they’re working to handle alarm fatigue as is required by the join commission and how choosing a central communication platform for alarms was key to addressing this issue. She also dives into key integrations they’ve created and a unique use case around athletic trainers at football games.

If you’re interested in healthcare communication and the above topics, watch the full video interview below to learn from an expert on the topic:

If you’d rather skip to various sections of the interview, just click the links below to be taken directly to that question:

A big thank you to Voalte for helping facilitate this interview and thank you to Voalte for sponsoring Healthcare Scene.

Shared Use Smartphones in Healthcare: Apple Losing Market Share to Healthcare Specific Devices

Posted on March 14, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Just before HIMSS took over my healthcare IT world, KLAS published a report on clinical mobility that I found extremely interesting. In fact, the report shaped a number of meetings I did at HIMSS. If you’re a provider or payer you can access the report for free here. However, I got permission to share a few images from the report that showed some trends worth considering when it comes to clinical mobility.

The first image is trends in shared-use smartphones in healthcare organizations.

This chart is quite fascinating as you see a big shift away from Apple devices and a big increase in the healthcare specific mobile devices like Zebra and Spectralink. Granted, Apple still has a good size market share and is still being considered by many. However, it seems that many are realizing that the Apple devices aren’t worth the premium you pay for them.

At HIMSS, I had a chance to talk with both Zebra and Spectralink and I was impressed by their efforts to make a healthcare specific mobile device. These were extremely robust devices and so it’s no wonder to me that they’re seeing good adoption in healthcare.

I’ll be continuing to watch this space to see how it evolves.

Another chart from the clinical mobility report that caught my eye was this list of most desired capabilities:

There’s no surprise that secure messaging was so high. I was a little surprised that video connections was so low. Shows you how far we have to go. Secure messaging does seem to be the gateway drug to mobile clinical devices, but I’m most excited by the other smart notifications that are going to be available. When meeting with Voalte at HIMSS I was impressed by one of their user’s observations that managing alert fatigue was easier with a unified platform. That made a lot of sense to me and it is a challenge that every healthcare organization faces.

What stands out for you in the above charts? What’s your experience with clinical mobility? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.

Talking Secure Healthcare Communication with Telmediq Founder and CEO

Posted on June 9, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve had a keen interest in the secure text message space ever since I started advising a company in the space many years ago. That company has since been acquired, but I’ve still been keeping watch over the secure text message market. Even back in the early days, we knew that the real holy grail of secure text was to integrate with the EHR and other applications and become a full communication suite and not just a simple text message platform. However, it would take time to really get there. What’s exciting is that we’re starting to see companies that are finally getting there.

One company that’s been making great progress in this direction is a company called Telmediq. Unlike most secure text message companies who started with the physicians, Telmediq approached the secure healthcare communication problem initially from the perspective of nurses. This together with a number of their integrations with EHR and other hospital IT systems prompted me to sit down with Ben Moore, Founder and CEO at Telmediq to learn more about their company and the evolving healthcare communication market.

If you’ve never heard about Telmediq or if you’re interested in what’s happening in the healthcare communication space now and where it’s heading in the future, then you’ll enjoy our interview with Ben Moore. We cover a lot of ground including things like EHR integration, voice integration, alert fatigue, hands free communication, and future items we’re just starting to see like AI and chatbots.

Enjoy our interview with Ben Moore, Founder and CEO at Telmediq:

What Can a Hospital Learn from Snapchat?

Posted on May 2, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those of you who don’t follow the trends, Facebook started the social network fun. Although, more and more youngsters are moving from Facebook to Instagram. Now, we’re seeing more and more people using Instagram and Snapchat. I’m sure some of you reading this are saying, “What’s Snapchat?”

Here’s a good description of Snapchat for that aren’t familiar with it:

Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (as of April 2014, the range is from 1 to 10 seconds),[6] after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.

In the Facebook world, Zuckerberg told us all that we should all use our full name and that we should share everything with the world and keep it as a kind of history of our life forever. That’s been a really popular model and has a lot of benefits. However, the popularity of Snapchat shows that there’s also a lot of value in something that has much more restrictive and temporary life.

To describe it more simply, people are getting more interested and sophisticated in their approach to privacy.

Today, I think it’s fair to say that we have the Facebook model for data. Any data we collect we need to keep and preserve forever. The idea of ever deleting data is a sin of the highest degree. There are a lot of reasons why this model is used in healthcare. However, I wonder if a hospital could benefit from a snapchat like platform that allows you to communicate across the organization without the eternal nature of that conversation being stored in the patient record forever.

I’m sure the privacy advocates will come out and say that it’s a terrible idea. Why would healthcare providers want to communicate something that doesn’t get documented in the chart. Plus, heaven forbid something be said that the patient doesn’t get to access and see. All of these concerns are overblown. I know they are, because these private conversations have been happening since the beginning of medicine. They just happen in the hallways or on a phone call instead of an online message.

Much like consumers, we need to get a lot more sophisticated in our approach to how we handle our communication and the privacy of that communication.