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Unified Communications Protects Patient Information

July 14, 2015 by

Hospitals can be overwhelming to even the most experienced doctor. There are multiple floors and even more departments. Physicians and nurses are running around to take care of the roomfuls of patients in their hallways. It can be even more stressful without the proper communications tools. If people have to track their co-workers down or if they struggle to find needed information, patient care is going to suffer. A unified communications solution will help health care facilities provide efficient and safe service to patients.

Lack of Secure Technology Jeopardizes Patient Information

According to a Spyglass Consulting Group survey from earlier this year, 70 percent of health care providers reported that their hospitals were making poor investment choices when it came to technology to help at point of care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' meaningful use program mandates that hospitals and doctors' offices implement electronic health record software, but many of these systems cannot interact with one another. More than 80 percent of physicians were unhappy with their EHR software due to limited communication and collaboration capabilities.

Because of this, nearly all those interviewed said they used their smartphones as their primary device for communication at work. This raises the risks of non-compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as well as makes it easier for hackers to steal patient information, eWeek explained. Smartphones are not equipped with software that provides the security that health care facilities need to protect their patients and staff. While they may be easier to use when health technology isn't up to par, the employment of personal devices has too many variables to ensure safe and private communication and data storage.

"Efficient communications and collaboration between physicians, specialists, nurses, and care team members is critical to enhance patient safety and support the coordination and delivery of patient care across health settings," Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass, told the source. "Despite advancements in mobile devices and unified communications, hospital IT has underinvested in technologies and processes to support physicians and care team members to help eliminate communications bottlenecks, streamline productivity, improve care quality, and increase nursing satisfaction."

UC Improves Patient Care, Doctor Communications

Instead of bypassing unified communications solutions, hospitals should make every effort to implement them in patient care. They will not only offer doctors and nurses a plethora of tools to get into contact with one another, but they will also provide a safe and secure system for patient information. ThinkingPhones' solution has countless safety protocols in place to protect their clients' messaging and files. Virtual private networks, firewalls, and encryption ensure all data passed through the system is secure.

With unified communications on their devices, doctors would be able to use their smartphones without worrying about putting their patients' records at risk. They could also eliminate obstacles in the workflow and speed up care services, InformationWeek claimed. Their handheld devices could communicate not only with other phones, but with computer systems that had unified communications installed on them. Doctors and nurses would be able to use presence awareness to determine where in the building their co-workers are and if they're available. From there, they'd be able to choose from a variety of tools - email, instant messaging for business, voice, or video conferencing - to communicate with them.

Unified communications solutions could increase productivity, cut costs, and improve collaboration in the hospital setting. With a variety of tools on hand, health care providers will be able to provide premium service to patients.

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