5 Communications Best Practices

As our community faces this health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals around the world are activating plans to ready resources while trying to keep staff and the rest of their patients safe.

Your peers at leading hospitals are sharing their best practices with clinical communications during this time when we are challenged with avoiding close contact and distancing ourselves from one another. We hope this information will be useful to you as you build your own preparedness plans.

1. Maximize the space you have.

As you postpone non-essential activities such as renovations and elective procedures, take advantage of current unused space and create new areas for care delivery.

  • Decommissioned patient rooms are being reengaged by adding nurse call to increase capacity for in-patient admissions.
  • In-progress nurse call projects are being expedited for completion to establish specialized units that will be used to isolate and treat patients who have contracted coronavirus.
  • Outdoor triage and drive-through units are using mobile communications solutions to safeguard the hospital environment.

2. Prepare for staffing changes.

If you are augmenting your staff with additional healthcare providers or establishing new teams, remember to plan for the additional tools they need to be successful.

  • Mobile applications and smartphone installations, including IT infrastructure, are being scaled to support more users to ensure all care team members, existing and new, can communicate quickly and efficiently.
  • Specialized roles and teams are being added to mobile communications directories to direct relevant alerts and information to care teams assigned to patients who have contracted coronavirus.
  • Desktop messaging is being used to extend mobile communication capabilities to staff members working from home.

3. Expand information sharing.

Use existing tools to inform and communicate with staff as well as train on existing or new solutions.

  • Broadcast messaging through mobile communications solutions is being used to announce training opportunities and share information updates with hospital staff.
  • New roles are being added to mobile communications directories to provide a "hotline" for hospital staff to reach out and ask questions.
  • E-learning and digital resources are being created by industry vendors and health authorities every day; be sure to share those broadly to keep staff informed and provide opportunities for ongoing training.

4. Use technology to support new protocols.

Update workflows and existing hospital systems to help optimize protocol compliance and reduce the need for entry and exit into isolation areas.

  • Unit-level dashboards in nurse call are being used for virtual rounding.
  • Medical device integration is connecting in-room patient monitoring devices to an alarm management solution – which supports remote monitoring through the ability to send alerts, waveforms and patient data to caregiver mobile devices.
  • A predictive algorithm for deterioration of ICU patients is providing earlier alerting of patient state changes without requiring staff in the room.

5. Lean on partners.

Lean on the expertise and resources of your partners to help you; we are ready and willing to help, just tell us what you need.

  • Service teams are being deployed at a rapid pace in support of hospital timelines for deploying their preparedness plans.
  • Technical product resources are adapting solution configurations to implement newly defined workflows and enable expanded feature sets.

Responding to a global pandemic is not an easy task. Thank you for everything you are doing to help your community.