2 Secure Texting Success Stories

 

In an April 9 webinar hosted by Becker's Healthcare and sponsored by secure texting solution provider Amcom Software, representatives from two hospitals described how they were able to successfully implement a secure texting solution at their organizations and the resulting benefits.

Froedtert Hospital and The Medical College of Wisconsin
The 655-bed Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee is the major teaching affiliate of Milwaukee-based The Medical College of Wisconsin. Prior to the implementation of a secure texting solution, there was no standardized method of communication with physicians, which often created confusion and frustration, said Ann Tesmer, MS, MBA, the director of access services at Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin.

"We [at the call center] would hear from providers saying, 'My resident or colleague said they paged me, but I didn't get the page,' and the person thinks they really sent the page," she said. "There was just a lot of disconnect in that realm."

Hospital officials began looking for a solution that would standardize communication, provide confirmation that a message reached the intended recipient and keep the hospital HIPAA-compliant. As an Amcom Software customer for more than 10 years, Froedtert turned to Amcom's Mobile Connect, which has all of these desired functionalities.

Froedtert Hospital soon realized the solution could be even more valuable to clinicians if it were integrated with the hospital's electronic health record system, enabling the receiving provider to have access to patient information with the initial message.

Physicians quickly saw the benefit in the new system. "If you include patient information in that first piece, you're giving them the ability to look at it and have a head's up before calling back or contacting the patient," said Ms. Tesmer. Additionally, by utilizing the messaging capabilities, a phone call might not even be necessary. "They could be at the sideline of their kid's soccer game, and they don't have to step away to call; they can look into our Epic EHR system and send a message," she said.

The solution was initially rolled out to 100 users, and is being expanded system wide. Physician adoption, spurred on by physician champions and the realization of the benefits of the system, has been robust.

"We went live on a Friday evening, and that night I got an email from a neurosurgeon who said, 'This is the greatest thing I have ever had,'" said Daniel DeBehnke, MD, MBA, CEO of Medical College Physicians at The Medical College of Wisconsin. "That's why end users have been our engagement strategy."

The Ottawa Hospital (Canada)
"A few years ago, we became one of the first hospitals to give all our residents and physicians iPads to access information and show information to patients," said Margaret Quirie, BA, MA, MLIS, the hospital's director of information organization and access. "That increased the expectation that everything should move quickly and be accessible on-the-go."

Like at Froedtert Hospital, Amcom's Mobile Connect solution allowed a secure way for clinicians to send and receive messages from anywhere and let message senders see when their message was received.

Not all of the hospital's physicians have adopted the solution yet, but for the growing number who have, Mobile Connect is having a significant improvement on both their productivity and work-life balance. "When I had a pager, I was always trying to read the number on the pager while dialing on the phone while I was stopped on the side of the road or what have you," said Glen Geiger, MD, MBA, CMIO at The Ottawa Hospital. "The impact this has had on the way we practice and in our lives has been significant."

To encourage physicians to adopt Mobile Connect, the hospital has used physician champions as well as created a brochure on the solution and a wiki to provide a forum for user questions and answers. However, it's the benefits of the solution that have been driving physician adoption. "We've been using an organic growth strategy; people see how it works and want to shift over," says Ms. Quirie.

Right now, the use of Mobile Connect is not mandatory for physicians, but it may be in the future. The hospital is also looking to extend the use of the solution to non-physicians as well. "We're taking this as far as we can throughout the hospital," says Dr. Geiger. "We page [non-physicians] too — they need to be a part of this."

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