Lahey Health, a multi-hospital integrated delivery network in northeastern Massachusetts, has integrated the AirStrip ONE mobile interoperability platform with their Epic electronic health record system to facilitate active engagement and communication among caregivers.

In doing so, Lahey is attempting to address challenges that are like those of other healthcare organizations, which are similarly struggling to improve care coordination between nurses and attending physicians.

With 1.5 million ambulatory visits per year, the four-hospital health system is busier than ever which has put a premium on effective communication between clinicians as they coordinate patient care. However, as demands on caregivers have increased, so has the potential for inefficiency and miscommunication during care collaboration.

“Our electronic health record knows who the patients are on the inpatient side, and who’s on their care teams,” says David Reis, senior vice president and chief information officer at Lahey. “We are using the application to intelligently deliver secure text messaging between caregivers.”

Implementing secure text messaging using the AirStrip application has enabled nurses to have direct communication with attending physicians in real-time via Android and iOS smartphones, rather than calling into a central operator first to have the doctor paged and waiting for their response.

Also See: Joint Commission reverses stand, allows text messaging

Care team members change every shift, and that is updated in real-time throughout the course of the patient’s stay, according to Reis, who notes that there is a need for “100 percent accuracy” to have texts sent to the right phone and the right user to ensure quick response times.

“In the past, a nurse would have to look up the role of the person they were trying to communicate with,” adds Reis. “With the integration between Epic and AirStrip, the nurse just has to know the patient. As soon as they click on the patient’s name, a list of all the roles comes up, and they just click on the particular role they want to communicate with.”

The capability has been “an enabler for workflow” because caregivers “don’t have to figure out whom to send a message to—they just look up the patient,” Reis concludes.

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