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Enhance Clinicians’ Ability to Focus on Direct Patient Care

Grace Hospital in Ohio is commonly known as a high stress and high fatigue environment. Operating as a not-for-profit hospital, within a hospital, Grace handles patients with the most complex and serious cardiac conditions. While they only staff experienced and dedicated individuals, all four hospitals suffered from alarm fatigue, a struggling budget, and strained communication.

 

Alarm Fatigue and its Dangers

 

What is alarm fatigue? This term describes the kind of burnout that affects nurses and clinicians in a high stress environment. Seemingly, every minute of every day, alarms go off in a hospital - given that just about every patient monitoring equipment has an alarm. It often becomes difficult for nurses to differentiate between important, non-emergency alarms, and emergency alarms.

 

HipLink leads the way in providing solutions to this problem. With our technology, alerts are sent to nurses’ smartphones as an alarm goes off. This allows the nurse to immediately see the severity of the alarm and the choice to respond to it. HipLink’s secure messaging system also maintains patient confidentiality, while giving nurses the equipment they need to do their job.

 

High Costs for a Non-Profit

 

Fighting alarm fatigue was based on two main resources of Grace Hospital: cost and manpower. The nursing profession, always in-demand, created a recruiting challenge for Grace Hospital. This was due to its four locations and highly specific work. Given that the hospital is a not-for-profit organization, gathering funding presented a challenge for its less than ideal budget and this affected manpower conditions. Without money to invest in larger technological solutions, the hospital turned to staff members to ease the burden.


The hospital’s solution included setting up a “war room.” From there, clinicians monitored all alerts. When a crisis arose, they directed the nurses to answer it. While this solution was imperfect, it was better than nothing. Unfortunately, it ate into the budget and produced an unnecessary delay in treatment.

 

Now that HipLink and other services presented by AT&T are on the floor, these war rooms aren’t needed. This saves the hospital money by easing staffing problems. Nurses work the floor instead of being on monitoring duty. More gets done and individual patient care goes back to being the main focus.

 

Communication is Critical

 

Grace Hospital now faced the final hurdle of poor communication as the hospital was spread out over four locations. Moreover, each location was housed in a hospital-within-a-hospital. This posed unique challenges to communication. AT&T worked with Grace Hospital to set up a virtual private network that saved them money and supported HipLink messaging.

 

Not-for-profit hospitals like Grace Hospital face mounting obstacles to get the cutting-edge technology that they need. Ohio’s Cleveland area is better served now that Grace Hospital’s four locations are linked. Saving money on monitoring and cutting down on alarm fatigue allows nurses to put their focus back on individual patient care.

 

 

Read our Case Study on Grace Hospital & HipLink HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Effective HIPAA Compliant Solution – Without Compromise

The way healthcare professional’s access data is changing, but security needs to change to meet HIPAA standards. Access to information is critical for physicians and staff as rapid communication and ease of access may determine a patient’s life or death. One of the most popular ways to access patient files is via mobile devices. Unfortunately these devices aren’t always as secure as they should be and the healthcare industry has been the target of staggering amounts of successful cyber attacks over the past few years.

 

The Demand for Mobile

Advancements in efficiency and the pace of work have made mobile devices doctors’ go-to source of information. This includes sensitive patient data, protected under HIPAA. It’s far easier for a doctor to check patient records en route to their hospital room, rather than stop to look up the necessary data on a computer. Affiliates also use mobile devices to send, receive, and even store confidential data. Since mobile apps now read bar codes, including those on medications, patient wristbands, medical charts, etc., the appeal of mobile devices as a universal data tool is overwhelming. It cuts down transcription errors, allows superior access to information, and improves communication between healthcare professionals. While all these make points of communication vastly more effective, they also put the data at risk.

 

The Threat of Cyber Attacks

Healthcare IT departments are facing a crisis. Many physicians use personal phones at work, and even if those phones use intrusive Big Brother software to essentially look over the physician’s shoulder, these devices are usually unsecured. While an IT department helps to strengthen defenses for on-site systems and devices, they have no way of protecting mobile devices that come and go from their purview. Cyber criminals are aware of mobile devices’ lax security, and they have adjusted their targets accordingly. Healthcare has seen millions of dollars of damage in recent years from cyber attacks, and far too many personal files were stolen or exposed. IT departments who wish to restrict personal mobile phone usage have valid concerns, but issuing work phones to all full time, part time, and affiliate employees is beyond impractical. The solution must come from new apps, not from new hardware.

 

The Solution

The solution lies in regulating information by controlling a single app that allows all necessary users to access critical information. Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) gives healthcare professionals access to patient information from anywhere they can use their mobile devices. However, it also ensures they do not keep that data on vulnerable phones, or leave sensitive information open in unattended apps. The app runs on servers the secure data center, and while the app offers a window to the data, it doesn’t store or even temporarily retain the information viewed.

Healthcare professionals need access to data, and IT departments need to ensure that access doesn’t compromise the security of the data in question. Virtual Mobile Infrastructure solves both problems. Even if a phone is lost or stolen, the data it accessed remains secure. It’s a HIPAA compliant solution that does not compromise the efficiency of medical staff.

 

 

Read more about HipLink’s Secure, HIPAA Compliant App HERE.

 

 

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Why a Wireless Communication Strategy Is Crucial to Crisis Management

In today’s world, organizations encounter many different types of crises.  Natural disasters, workplace violence, technological crises, and financial crises are just some of the unexpected dilemmas that threaten employee safety, company reputation, corporate assets, and financial results.

 

When developing plans to manage a crisis, it is imperative that a communication strategy be incorporated.   In fact, a wireless communication system should be the first thing developed to ensure that in the event of an emergency, the right people are notified at the right time.  Effective communication allows team members to collaborate and respond efficiently. 

 

Alert Notification Solution Requirements

 

In an emergency, the way an organization responds within the first 24 hours has a profound impact on minimizing risks and controlling costs related to the crisis.  Therefore, an effective alert notification system is necessary to notify everyone who needs to be made aware of the situation.  When seeking an effective alert notification solution, it should meet every one of the following requirements:

 

·        -  Accelerated flow of information to correct responders and decision makers

·        -  Works with all carriers and all communication protocols

·        -  Confirm that all units work collaboratively at all locations

·        -  Provide status of resources in real-time

·        -  Integrates seamlessly into existing applications

·        -  It must be scalable to adhere to the needs of the organization

·         - Enable fast responses and remote actions by providing two-way capabilities

 

If a crisis occurs, a communication strategy with an alert notification solution that provides all the above requirements will ensure your organization is prepared for the first 24 hours to maximize the most positive outcome possible.

 

Resolving Wireless Infrastructure Challenges

 

There are many different types of mobile devices, software technologies, and carriers using different protocols.  People will always have different tastes and different devices.  Likewise, different organizations use various types of software.  The vast number of different devices, carriers, and software types in one organization can present a real challenge to an organization’s wireless infrastructure.  The key to solving this is a wireless messaging software system that makes all the devices work together. 

 

HipLink Software provides organizations text and voice messaging capabilities to any mobile device and carrier worldwide.  With the ability to function as a stand-alone messaging system or integrate with virtually any software, HipLink’s wireless messaging software provides a vital component in an organization’s communication strategy in a crisis.

 

Our software is used in many industries including government, healthcare, financial institutions, transportation, manufacturing, and enterprise.  We provide a highly scalable, robust, and secure wireless communications software solution that is designed to meet critical messaging needs.  “HipLink is secure, fast, and loaded with features that will make sure your critical messages are delivered on time, every time,” Pamela LaPine, HipLink CEO and President.

 

For more information about incorporating HipLink software into your organization’s communication strategy, contact us at 1-800-524-7503. 

 

Download eBook HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Improve Alert Response Time and Employee Productivity

 

Imagine you are the CEO of a large financial institution and your organization is losing approximately $1,000 per minute in revenue opportunities and employee productivity.  Your organization has a complex IT infrastructure and must monitor several critical business systems utilizing CRM, network monitoring tools, and custom in-house solutions. You have a room fully staffed with numerous dispatchers to respond to every alert – whether it is from the help desk or there is an emergency that needs handled immediately.  Yet your organization is still losing money in network downtime.  Why?  What is the solution?

 

In your organization, when an alert is received and it is not responding immediately, it jumps to the next operator.  This process continues until the problem has been acknowledged.  If an alert moves through 10 people before being acknowledged, that is one part of the slow alert response time.  When the alert is finally recognized, it must be determined what system the alert is pertaining to, who manages the system, the best way to contact that person, and then make contact to address the problem.  That is a lot of time when responding to an alert. 

 

Even more time is lost when contacting the technician because each has requested to be notified by pager, email, telephone, or a collaboration of all three ways.  This method can take approximately 30 minutes to simply notify and dispatch someone to fix the problem. You need a solution to minimize downtime and the financial liability affiliated with lost revenue and reduced employee productivity. 

 

Improving your notification system by automatically alerting technicians and sending immediate notifications of network oddities to lessen downtime is what HipLink Application Messaging does – and a lot more.  By providing your organization with a complete wireless communication and a rock-hard notification system, your organization will be able to substantially reduce alert response time. Automatic alerts are sent to technicians and they see problems as they occur, not 30 minutes later.  In fact, at one large financial institution, HipLink generates 1.3 million messages annually with each being processed and delivered in less than 30 seconds.  Not only has this reduced amount of downtime, but also has saved the company thousands of dollars per day.

Furthermore, HipLink provides the ability to review detailed notification records.  This helps ensure problems are addressed and resolved in the timeliest manner. 

 

Implementing HipLink Application Messaging can lessen the impact of a problem as well as speed up the resolution of an event.  A robust, highly scalable solution that is very easily integrated with any software application, HipLink Application Messaging offers the following advantages:

 

  • One-Way & Two-Way Messaging with all text and voice wireless receivers
  • Supports all alphanumeric and numeric pagers, wireless devices, cell phones, landline phones, faxes, etc.
  • Supports all wireless carriers and protocols
  • Advanced Message Filtering
  • GUI (Graphical User Interface) Administration

 

Your organization is now saving $28,000 per incident ($1,000 per minute from lost revenue and reduced productivity).  With alerts generated by HipLink, your company could reduce its staffing requirements for monitoring network conditions, consequently saving a lot of money and freeing extra resources. Ensuring the right person receives the right notification via department and grouping features, HipLink offers additional cost savings in paging and texts.

 

Improved alert response time, financial gains, and increased employee productivity is one phone call away.  Call HipLink today at 1-800-524-7503 to get your organization back to gaining time and money.  

 

 


You can read our Large IT Department Case Study HERE

 

 

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Crucial Elements Every University Needs

 

Universities are not immune to emergencies such as fires, weather crises, mass shootings, and infectious disease outbreaks.  The key to combatting these emergencies to the greatest extent possible is preparedness.  Administrators, professors, and students must be prepared for anything to happen at any time. 

 

Looking back at the Virginia Tech mass shooting that occurred on April 16, 2007, the first 911 call came in at 7:15 a.m., notifying police there were at least two shooting victims at West Ambler Johnston Hall.  At 9:26 a.m., an email was sent by the school stating that a shooting took place at West Ambler Johnston Hall earlier that morning. At 9:45 a.m., 911 received a call reporting a second round of shootings in the classrooms at Norris Hall.  At 9:50 a.m., students received an email stating, “Please stay put,” and notifies them that a gunman is loose on the campus.  Then, at 9:55 a.m., university officials sent a third message via email and text messages to students regarding the second shooting.  A total of 32 people were killed that day and 17 were injured by gunshots.  Six others were injured from jumping out of windows to escape. 

 

For this article, the main factors to consider are the times of the shootings and notifications.  Approximately two hours and 15 minutes passed before an email was sent by the school.  Two and one-half hours passed before 911 received another call.  During the time gap in the shootings, it is known that the gunman mailed a package to a news channel.  What else he did in these two hours will probably never be known.  The questions that remain are:  Could the second shootings have been prevented? How?

 

Planning Ahead for Mass Coordination

 

At a university, being prepared for an emergency situation is a complex process; however, for the health and safety of staff and students, it is imperative that plans are established to notify any and all groups within minutes.  Ensuring an immediate, coordinated response is vital to lessening the damage in an emergency. 

 

Implementing a tiered approach of notification for a coordinated response to a variety of emergencies will minimize additional panic and prevent misinformation.  Today, virtually all members of a university, from the staff to the students, have smartphones or pagers.  Utilizing these devices as a component of a coordinated response plan is crucial.

 

Based on years of experience,  HipLink recommends a tiered approach always being sure your response priorities are clear.  By using a combination of wireless notification to cell phones and pagers with notification beacons will ensure universities are using all of their available resources effectively and responsibly.  A brief summary of a tiered approach is as follows:

 

  • Tier 1 – First Responders.  Notifying first responders should be done using the fastest, most reliable text delivery method available.  Universities should also be prepared to send follow-up texts regularly with updates.
  • Tier 2 – Administration, Staff, and Resident Advisors.  These groups need to be quickly notified to inform them there is a situation and activate pre-defined response protocols.
  • Tier 3 – Teachers.  The training and education of teachers can be a very important part of a coordinated response.
  • Tier 4 – Students.  The student body should be notified through beacons as these can be specific to locations.  They also have the ability to send updates as the situation changes.  Using SMS or voice messages to students’ cell phones only results in a complicated university response and burdens responses due to overloaded cellular networks. 

 

HipLink can be used for standard wireless notification from either a desktop computer or with applications such as the university campus IT network.  It can even send alerts from your building management systems and fire safety systems. 

 

HipLink Features and Benefits

 

Providing a robust, secure, highly scalable wireless communications software system,

HipLink works with any data or voice-enabled wireless device.  Connections can also be made through pop-ups on the computer screen as well as messages sent to notification beacons.  All of this is completed from one interface.  Some of the other benefits of HipLink include the following:

 

  • Advanced features for both voice delivery of messages and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) functions
  • A highly-praised intuitive and easy to use desktop interface.  HipLink is a completely browser-based system which means a university has universal access to their notification system at any time, from anywhere there is internet connectivity available.
  • Notifying Students via desktop interface by sending computer pop-ups, digital signage, and notification beacons.
  • HipLink supports all carriers and all devices with no dependence on emails. 
  • Grouping ensures faster message delivery of the correct messages or tasks to the right people at the right time.
  • Built-in failover functionality at the carrier and receiver levels guarantees message delivery even if the primary delivery method should fail.  This is a huge advantage in an emergency.

 

These are just a few of the benefits HipLinkXS provides.  Every university should be prepared and equipped for any emergency at any time.  For more information, contact HipLink at 800-524-7503. 

 

The Answer

 

With today’s technology, the answer is yes – the second round of shootings at Virginia Tech could have possibly been prevented utilizing HipLink to notify all staff members immediately that there was a shooter on campus.  The entire university may have been locked down within minutes and everyone may have been safe.  It is cases such as the Virginia Tech shootings that require universities to implement one of the most advanced, reliable notification software solutions available.

 

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