How mobile-first telehealth technology can improve patient care: 3 experts weigh in

Communication silos separating first responders, emergency medical services and hospitals can stand in the way of efficient and effective patient care. However, the right mobile-first technology gives health systems the power to build a robust telehealth network and improves care team communications by uniting teams on a single patient channel.

This is what presenters concluded during an Oct. 8 session at the Becker's Health IT + Revenue Cycle Virtual Event.

During the session, sponsored by Pulsara, presenters discussed communication challenges, how Pulsara's mobile-first telehealth and communication technology helps overcome those challenges, and the importance of good communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presenters were:

  • Brittany Means, RN, vice president of commercial operations at Pulsara
  • Wendy Barrilleaux, neuroscience service line administrator at St. Dominic Hospital
  • Bill Atkinson, PhD, president of Guidon Healthcare Consulting, LLC

Four takeaways from the session:

1. Communication between first responders, emergency medical services, and hospitals is fragmented. To illustrate this, Ms. Means noted the various communication channels used and the three hours spent between the time 911 was called for her grandfather's cardiac arrest in a rural Texas community and the time her grandfather arrived at the closest percutaneous coronary intervention center. She likened the experience to a game of telephone, where a message is passed from one person to the other but rarely ends up being the same initial message when the last person receives it. "Coordinating care across the continuum of care largely resembles a game of telephone," she said. "We open and close and open and close communication channels connecting from silo to silo." Ms. Means said this poses a challenge for efficient and qualitypatient care because most care spans a network of providers and organizations.

2. Mobile-first telehealth technology can help. Ms. Means said Pulsara, a healthcare communication and telehealth platform, consolidates fragmented communication channels into a single patient channel. Clinicians can dynamically build their interfacility and intrafacility care teams and have the ability to add facilities and team members to the case as needed for consults and patient transfers. With Pulsara , Ms. Means said real-time communication across organizations includes live video and audio, audio clips, integrations, GPS, images, and team messaging. She said the platform  is the only solution that offers  interoperability at the organizational, regional, state, and national levels. By leveraging Pulsara to unite care teams, organizations can achieve all four goals of the quadruple aim

3. Mississippi hospital improved quality of care and reduced costs with Pulsara. Prior to implementing the platform, St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Miss., was paying half a million dollars annually for their previous telemedicine solution in addition to monthly fees and expensive equipment. After implementing Pulsara in 2015, the hospital replaced technologies for electrocardiography transmissions and telemedicine, ultimately shrinking its vendor portfolio and saving an additional $180,000 in upcoming hardware upgrades. Within the first six months of using Pulsara, St. Dominic also saw a 22 percent improvement in the time it took for a patient to reach the neuro-interventional radiology suite for the removal of an artery clot. "Because we are able to send the right information to the right specialist at the right time, treatment decisions can be made quickly and with the tap of a button," said Ms. Barrilleaux.

4. Effective and efficient communication is especially important during the pandemic due to increased acuity of patients, greater turnover of patients and personnel, and various new points of transfers of responsibility and transitions, said Dr. Atkinson. He said failures in communication during this time can lead to adverse events, but coordination through one platform can help ensure information is not lost during handoffs and that the same message is being moved through the entire patient journey. "You've got to get a team in place all the time. You have to make this process a team effort from the time you first see the patient until that patient's discharged," explained Dr. Atkinson. "You can only do that with timely, constant, and solid communication."

To view the session on-demand, click here. To learn more about Pulsara, click here.

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