How Saint Mary’s Hospital improved patient safety with secure communications: 5 essential steps

Outdated communication technologies such as paging, fax, email, and phone calls delay the delivery of patient care, impact provider productivity, and reduce patient satisfaction. To solve these problems, Saint Mary’s Hospital in CT took a strategic approach to enable better communication, ease clinical workflows, and improve patient care. Here are the five steps Saint Mary’s took to improve clinical communications and patient safety by implementing a secure communications plan and choosing a secure communications platform:

  1. Evaluate the clinical mobility strategy that works best with your organization’s secure communications goals:
    • BYOD - Bring Your Own Devices (MAM) apps are isolated from the rest of the device and often used by physicians that are employed or affiliated with the hospital.
    • COLD - Corporate Owned Locked Down have a full MDM solution and are often shared between providers such as nurses, techs, and other clinical staff shift-to-shift and not used outside the hospital.
    • COPE - Corporate Owned Personally Enabled are often used by nurse managers, residents, and other clinical staff that are allowed to use their personal device per hospital policy. These devices usually have a light MDM solution and allow users to download apps through their own App Store. Enterprise data is secured with App Wrapping and Sandbox encryption.
  2. Identify critical workflows that could benefit most from a secure communications platform:
    • Radiologists can use secure messaging to send text and photo messages securely to other specialists about patients and evaluate results between physicians or other healthcare providers.
    • Hospitalists can leverage the solution to communicate with nurses and unit staff, clarify results, bring attention to physicians about new or critical results, communicate with the pharmacy, and request instant callbacks.
    • Patients and families can leverage out-of-network secure messaging to communicate with OR staff, secretaries, and nurses to get real-time information immediately, which reduces family anxiety and improves patient experience.
  3. Designate clinical champions to drive internal awareness about secure communication practices:
    • CMIO/CMO – Lead clinical involvement in selection and deployment of your secure communications solution.
    • Chief of Staff – Lead policy for physician adoption.
    • Hospitalists – Lead a pilot group for new users and workflows.
    • Clinical Informatics – Lead secure communications platform adoption of nursing, clinical staff, and discovering new workflows.
  4. Select a secure communications platform that:
    • Is truly secure – HIPAA compliant in transit and at rest.
    • Is easy to support and maintain – cloud-based software as a service.
    • Supports BYOD and corporate-owned devices.
    • Transforms desktop communication for non-mobile users with a rich, native application.
    • Provides secure group messaging to organizational and personal groups.
    • Supports out-of-network communication with clinical specialists and patients.
    • Enables broadcast messaging to communicate with entire healthcare organizations, on mass.
  5. Deploy a secure communications platform across workflows and enterprise:
    • Physicians
    • Nurses
    • Clinical Staff
    • Patients

By enabling more secure enterprise communications, organizations like Saint Mary’s are able to boost productivity, save time for physicians and nurses, reduce delays in patient care and notifications, improve patient safety, and improve HCAHPS scores.