2006 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
EVALUATION OF A WIFI PLATFORM TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATIONS OF A RESPIRATORY CARE DEPARTMENT
Neonatal-Pediatric Clinical Specialist, Roger Gilbert, R.R.T. Adult Clinical
Specialist, Terry Smith, BSHAS, RRT, Director of Respiratory Care, Dan Peck,
Technical Services Manager, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue,
Background: Respiratory Care Practitioners have used a variety of communication systems over the years; paging systems, intercoms, telephones, pagers, two-way radio systems to name a few. WiFi computer networks within hospitals allow direct communication over WiFi when equipped with a VoceraT platform. This platform allows flexible, instantaneous, hands-free, wearable, and convenient communication.
OBJECTIVES: By using a WiFi communication device by VoceraT, Respiratory Care will aim to meet the following objectives:
- Allow RCP's the increased communication and the ability to have instant access to other RCP's, support staff, Clinical Specialists, Diagnostic Specialist, and others at any time and place.
- Give the staff increased ability to communicate immediately with clinical areas that may have paged them, no searching for a phone or waiting to speak to the person they are contacting.
- Allow messages to be broadcast to all staff at the same time. Providing instant communication without the lag time of response from a pager and telephone system.
- Allow direct communication to and from outside phone numbers giving a rapid connection with vendors, staffing calls, and outside suppliers.
Method: A brief trial period was used to determine a practical application of the device and decide on methods of usability. During this period it was determined the device was practical to use within the scope of our practice and within the boundary of our building space. Our WiFi network allowed us very few low transmission locations. The system allows for messages to be left if an individual is out of transmission range.
A complete implementation was initiated after the clinical trial. This implementation included all RCP's working clinically carrying a VoceraT badge 24/7. In addition to the clinical RCP's, the department's two Clinical Specialists, the Diagnostic Specialist and the technical support person, each carries a VoceraT badge.
Individual training was given to each staff person using the badges. The training included one-on-one training, viewing an online training program, department specific usage goals, and a wallet card with abbreviated instructions and command list.
Results: Department communications improved throughout the process. Rapid access to other staff reduced wasted time spent on the phone or waiting for others to answer their pagers. Responding to pages while en route to a clinical/patient site, without stopping to answer via telephone, the staff improved both response times and productivity. The ability to broadcast to all staff simultaneously allows staff the flexibility to report emergency needs and prevent overstaffing at STAT calls. Broadcasting insures that the right equipment and the right staff arrive at each situation. On at least one occasion, staff safety was increased because of the instant access to other staff members when other means of communication failed.
Conclusion: All objectives outlined above were met. The VoceraT WiFi platform brought our communications to a higher level. The new device increased productivity, reduced wasted time and inefficiency that existed with previous communication systems. The system was implemented and continues to work efficiently.