Top tips for implementing an in-hospital mobile communications strategy

Published: 21-Nov-2014

Spectralink urges hospitals to use mobile devices to enable healthcare staff to focus on care rather than administrative tasks

Healthcare institutions across the world are realising the benefits of mobile-enabled employees and are embracing in-building communications systems.

More mobile communications strategies are being deployed within hospitals. As a result, healthcare institutions must carefully consider their options and ensure they install the right system to deliver improved efficiencies and quality of care

However, not enough organisations are enabling healthcare workers to focus on care, rather than administrative tasks, according to Spectralink Corporation, a manufacturer of wireless solutions for healthcare institutions.

“The world is undergoing a mobility revolution. New devices, applications and approaches mean that expectations in this area have never been higher,” said Simon Longhurst, manager of OEM and global alliances at Spectralink.

“More mobile communications strategies are being deployed within hospitals. As a result, healthcare institutions must carefully consider their options and ensure they install the right system to deliver improved efficiencies and quality of care.”

Spectralink’s top five tips for designing and implementing an in-hospital mobile communications strategy are:

  • 1. Define your objectives: It's common knowledge that investing in mobility makes for more-productive, satisfied and accessible staff. But to design an effective communications system, you'll need to define more-detailed objectives than this. The key is to think about your overarching strategy to ensure you have a clear vision of what your communications system needs to achieve. You should ensure that it integrates seamlessly with your existing call server, wireless infrastructure and is interoperable with workflow systems
  • 2. Decide whether Wi-Fi or DECT is going to serve your needs best:Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) are the leading handset and network choices for organisations that need in-building communications. Both options bring value to the working lives of healthcare workers, but each solution has different strengths. DECT allows for excellent voice quality and requires a comparatively small investment. But, if you’re looking to move beyond voice into data-rich applications, you’ll find VoWi-Fi is a logical step. Either way, seamless and superior voice quality is essential. Wireless local area network integration is very important in many cases so you should also ensure that this is achieved too
  • 3. Choose a purpose-built device: Healthcare environments present tough conditions and unique situations in which specific functionality is required from a device. Purpose-built devices feature additional benefits in the form of durability, reliability and security. For example, consumer devices cannot provide the battery life needed in a healthcare environment. It’s important that devices not only last a long time, but have removable batteries that can be quickly changed at the end/start of a shift too. Only purpose-built devices can provide this battery reliability, alongside connection and security/privacy reliability. Added functionality in the form of integrated scanners also means that doctors and nurses can have important and accurate information at their fingertips
  • 4. Understand what additional functionality your healthcare professionals need: The regular use of consumer smartphones is shaping expectations about the capabilities of workplace devices. Touchscreens, intuitive interfaces, text messaging and a broad choice of applications are now must-haves. Recent advances in Wi-Fi have allowed vendors in this space to offer more sophisticated and data-intensive applications. Healthcare workers no longer need to waste time returning to a terminal or nurse station to receive/send vital information from applications such as patient alarms
  • 5. Future-proof your strategy: The durability requirements of healthcare handsets are far more rigorous than those for personal use. Drop and liquid endurance, rugged screens, and sterilisation capabilities are all essential in a healthcare environment. This means that the handset lifespan needs to be far longer than that of a consumer device. Purpose-built devices typically last three to five years before replacement. This is ideal for healthcare needs – as well as the balance sheet

Spectralink’s latest product, PIVOT, combines the durability and reliability of a traditional workplace handset, with the compatibility and usability of a modern day smartphone.

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