NewsLine - September 2010 - (Page 16)

Short Takes Consolidating on a Single Device The Hospice of the Comforter, founded in 1990, has served more than 27,000 patients throughout three counties in central Florida over the past 20 years. “We have a little over 530 employees, and at the current time we have about 750 patients on our service on any given day,” says Doug Stone, the hospice’s vice president of finance. The vast majority of the hospice’s services, Stone says, are provided in the clients’ homes. “They’re scattered about the three-county area, which really means that we have a highly mobile workforce going out to service those clients.” The BlackBerry Deployment In October of 2008, the hospice launched a deployment of 250 BlackBerry devices (Curves and Tours). “We have them in the hands of our physicians, our nurses, our marketing people, our admissions personnel, our pastors, our psychosocial counselors or social workers, and then all of their supervisors,” Stone says. “The idea was that the entire team would be in touch and integrated through that one communication device.” NHPCO member, Hospice of the Comforter, was recently spotlighted in an article by Mobile Enterprise for its creative solution to improving communication among staff members. In this excerpt, you’ll learn how the solution saved money, while also improving staff efficiency and response time. In 2008, the hospice began looking for a solution to simplify its mobile voice and data access. “The service before was very fractured,” he says. “We had employees who had some Nextel push-to-talk phones, we had a lot of our nurses who had AirCards, and we had a great number of pagers.... Literally, there were nurses with a company phone, a personal phone, an AirCard, and a pager.” One key requirement was that the solution had to support laptop connectivity. “The nurses carry a laptop computer, and the laptop contains our electronic medical record,” Stone says. “After seeing each patient, the nurses synchronize their laptop with the master database here at our office building—and so, to get rid of the AirCards, which we wanted to do, we needed to have a device that could be used as a tethered modem.” The hospice also needed a highly secure solution. “We had significant concerns about HIPAA and patient privacy, so we ended up with the BlackBerrys in large part because of the extreme degree of control we can exercise over the device,” he says. 16 NewsLine In addition to using the BlackBerry smartphones for voice, email and text messaging, the hospice uses TeleNav Track to monitor the location of its nine medical equipment trucks. “The trucks all use TeleNav—the drivers jump in the cab, turn it on to begin their day, and it broadcasts their position back to our dispatch center,” Stone says. That location awareness helps the dispatch center in two key ways. “If someone needs a piece of equipment, we can always find a truck that’s nearest to that patient and dispatch it to the patient,” Stone says. “If we get a new patient admission, we can do the same thing—we can find the closest truck—and those trucks always carry three or four complete setups of inventory for a newly admitted patient.” While the TeleNav Track solution is currently limited to the hospice’s equipment trucks, Stone says they’re looking at the possibility of providing it to physicians as well. “We’ll have a patient scheduler make the appointments with all the patients and families the day before, so when the physicians turn on the device, they have an optimized route already set up for the next day,” Stone says.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NewsLine - September 2010

Transitions: Challenging the Traditional Healthcare Mindset
A Message From Don
Leadership Training in This Economy? You Bet
Circle of Life Award Winners
Program Spotlight: Hospice of the Comforter
NASW Congress: Social Workers Look to the Future
People and Places
PSAs for Cable or Television
NHPCO’s Upcoming Educational Offerings
This Year’s Hospice Month Quilt is Here!
FHSSA’s Quarterly Newsletter

NewsLine - September 2010