For more than 25 years, Spok has provided customers with consulting services designed to help them maximize the use and value of their Spok® solutions. Based on customer feedback, we formalized a catalog of consulting services and also expanded our all-star Consulting Services team, which now boasts five dedicated professionals, each with their own area of expertise. Meet the line-up below, and learn their top tips for success in communications system design, mobility, and more.
What is your area of expertise on the Spok Consulting Services team?
BRENDA: I focus on performing solution reviews and audits for prospective and current customers. I enjoy helping them identify their workflows and providing recommendations on how to improve their current processes. I also work with our customers on data review, which includes identifying data issues, making recommendations on data sources utilized for data feeds, and building rules around data consumption.
GARY: Prior to my current role as Solutions Architect, I was in Spok’s Professional Services Group and worked onsite with many Spok customers to help them implement their solutions, most often Spok’s operator console and clinical alerting solutions. Today, as a Solutions Architect, my role is more holistic: I help new customers design their overall communications system, as well as help our current customers fully leverage their existing Spok solutions.
JASON: My area of expertise is mobility. I work with our customers to implement IT services that help clinicians provide better care for patients by leveraging the efficiency of mobile communications. More specifically, my expertise is in architecting, implementing, managing, and supporting secure text messaging solutions as part of a hospital’s overall mobile technology portfolio.
RYAN: I’ve been involved in many contact center implementations, including Spok’s operator console, enterprise web directory, and on-call scheduling solutions. However, my primary focus lately has been on working with our customers to deploy Spok’s emergency notification solution.
SUZIE: I specialize in helping customers effectively implement Spok’s clinical alerting solution, as well as enterprise solution deployment.
What makes you an expert in this area, and why are you passionate about it?
BRENDA: I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of customers during my 19+ years at Spok. This experience and my knowledge of the Spok solutions drive me to help customers improve their workflows and realize success with their solutions. One of my favorite things about working at Spok is the opportunities I have had to work alongside customers—they make my job so enjoyable!
GARY: Most of my professional career has been in contact centers. My experience ranges from supporting contact center infrastructure to actively managing the daily operations. Prior to joining Spok, I managed a medical university call center that provided clinical referral services, a staff physician answering service, and PBX operator services. I deployed several Spok solutions in the call center and developed innovative uses of the Spok console that significantly enhanced our workflows and contributions to the university. It’s incredibly rewarding to work with our customers and help them transform their daily operations into business workflows that improve processes and maximize their Spok investment.
JASON: I helped support IT services related to my mobility expertise at a large hospital system for over nine years. I supported emergency notification, paging, on-call scheduling, contact center, and critical messaging services. My team helped improve physician response and door-to-balloon time with emergency notification services, built out a cost-effective solution for campus-wide notification, and rolled out over 3,000 secure text messaging licenses. I’m passionate about this field because I believe it has a truly significant impact on patient care. These technologies can help patients gain faster access to care providers when they need them the most. I often think about myself or my family being in the hospital in need of care, and that always helps me get up in the morning and give it my all.
RYAN: I have over five years of experience at Spok, and in that time have had the great pleasure of assisting over 150 different customers in the implementation of their Spok solutions. I have an extensive background in operations, training, and consulting. I’m passionate about working with our customers to determine where they are today and where they want to be in the future, so we can devise a strategy to help them get there.
SUZIE: I’ve been with Spok for nearly 25 years in a variety of positions. All of that time working with a variety of customers in their unique settings and workflows has given me the background to ensure that the right person is getting notified at the right time on the appropriate device.
What do you think are the top trends in this area / what are Spok customers grappling with?
BRENDA: Many of our customers are going through some sort of consolidation with other hospitals or healthcare organizations, and this is requiring them to evaluate their solutions and economize where possible. We’ve been helping many organizations navigate this and develop a communications infrastructure plan that makes sense over both the short and long term.
Another area that customers are struggling with is data. Ensuring that they have identity management and meaningful, accurate data is crucial for success—both in contact center operations as well as across their efforts to improve end-user adoption of enterprise solutions like Spok® Web and Spok Mobile®.
GARY: Most customers have a sense that their Spok solutions provide more functionality than what they’re using, but they don’t always know how to reach out to us for more information. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Consulting Services Group is here to help with.
JASON: I see a lot of customers grappling with developing comprehensive mobile strategies, integrating bring your own device (BYOD) programs, and implementing enterprise mobility management (EMM). These challenges have been around for a while, but they continue to dominate conversations. Mobile access to electronic medical record (EMR) systems has also become a key challenge, from both a technical and a workflow perspective. Additionally, secure text messaging is now more common as hospitals look to streamline and secure mobile conversations. Looking forward, I think some of the trends that will have the biggest impact on healthcare mobility include Big Data (collected from the clinician and patient/consumer mobile apps), the development of mobile app plans and portfolios, the convergence of consumer and medical apps, telehealth, the Internet of Things (IoT), and wearables. Ultimately, I think all of this will lead to the people having a seamless experience between life at home and life as a patient in the hospital, with more proactive and personalized care at the forefront.
RYAN: In terms of critical communication, speed, efficiency, and accuracy are paramount. Too often we see our customers struggling through manual processes of paper trails, calling trees, and data inaccuracies. Spok solutions can streamline those processes by eliminating much of the paperwork, automating phone calls and contacts, and providing better tools to manage data.
SUZIE: Our customers are adding more alarms and also automating a significant percentage, which can take a toll on clinicians, particularly nurses. Alarm fatigue is a real problem, and with the right system design and workflows in place, we can make the difficult job of nurses a little bit easier.
What is your No. 1 piece of advice for hospitals and health systems in this area?
BRENDA: For any solution, I recommend these steps: Identify success criteria, plan, deploy, and review. It’s important to identify measurable success criteria as a first step when adopting change or new solutions. This will help your organization identify success or determine if additional review and analysis are necessary.
GARY: Plan, plan, plan! Spok Consulting Services is most effective when we can help our customers at the very beginning of their projects. We find that projects are most successful when we’ve had proper time to plan and review the project through its many phases.
JASON: The healthcare mobility space is riddled with buzzwords, acronyms, and cutting-edge technologies (many of which you heard about in my responses above). It is important not to get caught up in the hype and to focus on workflows and outcomes. My top piece of advice would not be focused on a specific piece of technology, but rather on a perspective: Always start with the patient. When architecting workflow solutions, I always begin with the patient and determine the technology from there. This is critical to ensuring outcomes and value are delivered by any technology solution.
RYAN: Whether you’re considering a Spok solution or are in the midst of an implementation, there are several key points to consider: Be bright-eyed, but also keep an open mind. Realize that “Rome was not built in a day,” and your Spok solution won’t be either. Define measurable success criteria, be realistic with your goals and expectations, and use that information throughout the lifecycle of your project to stay on track and ensure we are all working to meet your objectives.
SUZIE: Take the time to analyze all clinical alerting to ensure that the correct person is being notified, escalations are in place, and devices are configured for the best notification, utilizing colors and alerts that the system can support. It’s time consuming, but the outcomes are well worth the effort.