Hospitals are challenging institutions as they typically deal with life and death situations, day in day out. Rather than being the exception, emergencies are the rule, more so in a large hospital.
Coupled with dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of staff working at any given time 24 hours a day, a hospital can only operate efficiently on the backdrop of good communication. And the growing popularity of long-distance surgery goes on to emphasize how important it is for hospital personnel to communicate effectively and in real-time. This means that the communication systems deployed by any given hospital should be, at the worst, reliable.
Traditionally, hospitals have used phones, alarms, emails, and pagers to communicate, even during an emergency. But each of these methods when used on their own is unable to achieve the ultimate goal of efficient communication during crises, namely, reaching everyone, everywhere, and quickly. Having an 85% efficiency in emergency communication may seem sufficient. But think again: Would you want to be in that 15% that doesn’t receive a critical notification that could impact your safety?
That’s precisely the reason why more and more hospitals and other healthcare organizations are turning to mass notification systems. Initially used for emergency communication, mass notification systems for hospitals are expanding in form and function. Now they are also being used for other critical and general communication. In fact, Global Mass Notification System in Healthcare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of +14% during the forecast period 2018-2023.
Have you already implemented a mass notification system in your hospital? If not, we here discuss five reasons why you shouldn’t procrastinate any further.
Reason 1: Will Elevate Your Communication Efficiency to Another Level.
A state-of-the-art mass notification system will surely enhance the operational efficiencies in many areas of the hospital. For example, it can accelerate color-coded calling and operational communications within a hospital. It’s an efficient way to relay coded events and STEMI alerts to key personnel.
Likewise, it enables hospital administrators to fill empty staff-shifts quickly. For example, one hospital uses their mass notification system as a way for the Emergency Department in-charge nurses to fill open shifts in a flash. It could also be invaluable in communicating across multiple facilities of the same hospital in the case of a regional emergency like a natural disaster.
The multi-channel feature of notification systems ensures messages and alerts are delivered through different platforms and devices, ensuring that everyone who was targeted receives the message. All this takes place within seconds or a few minutes. These channels which include text message, email blasts, social media, voice calls, live or prerecorded voice announcements over indoor and outdoor speaker arrays, intranet and digital textual message signs ensure information gets to virtually all parties in real-time, including offline employees.
Reason 2: Seamless Integration With Existing Communication Systems
One reservation that some hospitals administrators may have towards implementing a mass notification system is fear of change. This fear may be based on the fact that they may already have an existing outdated system and may regard it as cumbersome to transfer data, such as contact lists and user profiles.
But did you know that outdated communication systems cost hospitals $8.3 billion every year? That includes $1 million in time wasted communicating with pagers. How about precious lives lost that cannot be quantified in monetary terms?
However, you may be surprised to know that a notification system does allow for easy integration and synchronization with existing systems and databases that may be currently in place. Additionally, you’ll be able to customize a registration process that you will use in future to add new recipients into the system. And the beauty is that its interface is easy to use; very easy to add, remove, and update your contact list.
Reason 3: It Allows For Convenient Grouping of Contacts
Another compelling reason to adopt a mass notification system is that you can organize your contacts in clusters. This grouping will make it very convenient and easy to reach the right audience at the right time and with the apt message.
Ordinarily, the main users of a mass notification system in a hospital setting would be administrators, ER staff, doctors, senior nurses, head of departments, security and others as would be needed. Instead of just having all these employees’ contacts saved independently, the mass notification system allows for the creation of groups.
For the best outcome, these groups can be defined by such criteria as department, position, or location. Then based on the setting you’ll configure, the system should be able to prioritize the order in which the message will be delivered to the targeted recipients. Doing so ensures that the intended recipients receive the information they need quickly.
Reason 4: It Will Save Precious Time and Save Countless Lives
When a crisis occurs, every second counts. At such a volatile moment, you do not want to be stuck worrying about what kind of message you are going to craft and which people need to be notified. Think about it: the traditional phone call chain may be full of error and can consume plenty of time. On the other hand, a mass notification system enables fast delivery of messages to multitudes of people simultaneously. This is especially significant since today’s potential crises, and disasters require the ability to customize a message and communicate to your audience in real-time.
How does a mass notification system make this possible? It allows for composing of message templates way beforehand and saving them ready to be sent at that critical moment. This will allow for sending alerts instantaneously when the need for doing so arises.
Typically, you need to evaluate and establish the most anticipated emergency events or any other alerts and information that may be important to send. Then, compose message templates that would be most appropriate to all those scenarios. How convenient! This will enable communication to be sent and delivered quickly and efficiently.
Reason 5: It Will Provide Analytics and Easily Collect Recipient Data
Lastly, modern mass notification systems provide valuable feedback and analytics, as well as give your recipients the ability to respond to your notifications. This is a compelling feature of these vital systems because emergency communication strategies need to be regularly reviewed and areas of improvement be identified.
They achieve this by displaying charts and visual meters to report progress in real-time at a glance. Additionally, the system gives insightful, detailed reports of how the notification process performed during actual scenarios.
Advanced analytics and reporting features provide such metrics as the number of sent, delivered and read notifications. Other feedback includes how fast the notifications were delivered, the amount of time it took for the notification to be opened by the recipients, how many channels were involved, which channels were most well-received, and how many recipients received them.
When an emergency strikes, your recipients can give feedback if they need assistance or provide insights into the crisis especially if they are close to it. Not only is this feature significant during an emergency. A mass notification system with two-way communication capability allows you to send healthcare and management surveys and opinion polls to your recipients. After that, it analyses the feedback. Such facilities present you with a valuable opportunity understand them better. As an administrator, this will provide you with helpful information leading to better informed and more effective management decisions in the future.
Now’s the Time To Embrace A Mass Notification System
We could continue listing more and more reasons, but we figured the above five are sufficient to help you see the importance of mass notification systems. Hospitals are facilities that are regarded by the public as life-saving centers. Thus you wouldn’t want to be caught in a situation where the hospital becomes otherwise because of inability to communicate efficiently when it mattered most.
True, the hospital industry to this day works its tail off to do the right thing. But how easier your work could be with a mass notification system! It is simple, effective and convenient. Of all the reasons discussed above, saving time stands out. Time is of the essence as it may mean the difference between life and death. When a crisis strikes, you want to have a system that can get into the action immediately and send those alerts within seconds across all the channels selected.
The hospitals that have already implemented these systems have seen their daily operational efficiency improve beyond their expectations. It has improved workflow through accurate and efficient communication. These hospitals have been able to use these systems to leverage a more connected and efficient means of communication. So it’s a high time that you too start working smart.