Healthcare Communications: Making the Most of Mobile


Doctor hands texting on a smart phone isolated on a white background
The healthcare industry has had its share of growing pains in adopting new technologies. One area in which it still struggles is mobile. Although the proliferation of mobile devices has fundamentally changed how people work, hospitals are stuck in the past. Hampered by lean budgets, hospital IT departments haven’t been able to make the most of mobile trends. Instead, they’re forced to ensure HIPAA compliance by continuing to rely on the old technologies of pagers and landlines. Unfortunately, this approach leaves much to be desired.

In fact, the effect of this outmoded communications infrastructure is more than one of frustration for hospital employees, who must juggle multiple devices. The missed or slow communications caused by the old system can be deadly – to hospital patients. According to The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States, nearly 70% of sentinel events – incidents that lead to a patient’s death or serious injury – are directly attributable to communication failures.

Hospital Employees Go Rogue

Rather than be slowed down by old technology, many hospital workers have turned to their smartphones and tablets to work faster, albeit over non-compliant channels. This is “shadow IT” in its purest form, and although personal devices might get the job faster, they pose one of the greatest security threats to patient data.

It’s not just nurses and technicians who have embraced BYOD, either.

“Physician smartphone adoption is nearly universal, with nearly 96% of physicians…using smartphones as their primary device to support clinical communication,” says Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group. “Smartphones are preferred because they are easier to use and provide more enhanced functionality than outdated communication options provided by hospital IT including pagers, overhead paging systems, landlines, and fax machines.”
So what are healthcare organizations to do in order to stay compliant while also keeping employees happy and productive? They need to unify their communications infrastructure, and do it with a mobile-centric approach.

The Power of One

Unification is all about making things simpler. It’s about equipping employees with one set of connected, easy-to-use communication tools and giving IT departments a single point of control to oversee security, including encryption and auditing.

By now, many healthcare organizations have adopted some form of unified communications to save money and simplify messaging for employees. But many have struggled with how to extend the technology to mobile devices. If this describes your organization, there are several steps you can take to fully harness the mobile revolution while staying legal.

First, by implementing a cross-platform enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution such as BlackBerry’s BES12, you can streamline employee communications, a critical factor in workplaces where a lag of even a few seconds could mean the difference between life and death. Second, you can mitigate many of the problems associated with BYOD through containerization. This technology keeps work data and apps completely separated from personal data and apps. Containerization not only keeps company communications secure and compliant by stopping inadvertent employee data leaks, it also reduces your mobile costs per employee by simplifying device management.

These two steps go a long way toward making employee communications easier, more compliant and faster for patient care. But for full compliancy? There is one final piece of the puzzle that you will need: mobile call recording. Although texting is a big part of hospital employee communications, healthcare professionals still, of course, frequently talk over the phone with coworkers and patients. To be fully compliant, IT departments need a mobile call recording system that meshes seamlessly with both your EMM software and any existing call recording and auditing tools already in place. That’s where Tango Networks comes in.

Time to Tango

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Tango Networks provides powerful capabilities for extending fixed telecom features and benefits to smartphones within healthcare, including wireless business continuity, enhanced mobile call recording, and mobile unified communications (UC).

Tango Networks and BlackBerry engineers work in direct collaboration to create a seamless experience for both IT and employees in healthcare organizations. By using Tango Networks’Enterprise Mobile UC services in conjunction with BES12 for EMM, healthcare customers enjoy the following gains:

  • One number. Through single-number reach, single voicemail and extension dialing on smartphones, nurses and doctors enjoy more efficient access to each another and to patients.
  • Enhanced coverage via VOIP. Relying on Wi-Fi rather than solely a mobile network ensures maximum “reachability” – calls will go through every time, no matter where on – or off – campus hospital employees happen to be.
  • Streamlined auditing. Carrier-neutral mobile call recording is easily enforceable and compliant with BES12 on BlackBerry smartphones. This ensures organizations can mitigate risk, capture care instructions, and keep track of verbal prescriptions with ease using their existing call recording platform.
  • Enhanced integration. Tango Networks supports a wide range of IP-PBXs and UC platforms and integrates seamlessly with BlackBerry devices (and iOS & Android), which already see extensive use in healthcare.
  • Wireless business continuity. The system automatically routes incoming and outgoing calls to smartphones during PBX outages or times of network failures for maximum uptime.

Safe and Compliant Mobile Communications

In healthcare, effective communications is critical. Without a streamlined intuitive means of contacting each other, healthcare workers are left either fumbling with outdated systems or using noncompliant channels. By adding Tango Networks capabilities to BES12, healthcare providers can save money, improve communications and productivity, and ensure better patient outcomes – without sacrificing compliance in the process.

Interested? Find out more about Tango Networks solutions for healthcare or check out this Tango Networks webinar.

About Carrie Cardoso Côté

I am the Senior Marketing Manager for the App Ecosystem team at BlackBerry. I eat, sleep and breathe apps at BlackBerry, and am focused on delivering valuable apps and solutions to our customers while building strong partner relationships. I’m also a wife, mom, enthusiastic foodie, and crafter extraordinaire. And I can bake a mean scone.

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