Parkland Health and Hospital System
Parkland Health & Hospital System, located in Dallas, is one of the largest public hospital systems in the country, averaging more than 1 million outpatient visits annually. The system also includes 20 community-based clinics, 12 school-based clinics, and numerous outreach and education programs. Parkland is the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
- Improve response time to critical situations
- Improve quality of patient care
- Enhance organizational efficiency
- Reduced time required to launch codes
- Reduced response time to urgent events
- Decreased time needed to communicate with dynamic groups
Thousands of people rely on Parkland Health & Hospital System every day for everything from routine checkups to emergency treatment at one of the world’s leading trauma centers. With services that also include the second largest civilian burn center in the U.S. and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the organization needed a flexible, dynamic communication infrastructure that could handle the complexities involved with helping a large, mobile staff effectively coordinate patient care.
“We are the backbone of communications for the health system, which includes more than 11,500 employees, and over 800 beds,” said Prentiss Wright, Call Center director.
For years, Parkland relied on overhead paging, radios, and manual procedures to communicate with physicians and staff. They wanted to increase communication efficiency for their daily workflows as well as for critical situations and disaster notifications. They also needed to plan for the future.
“We are an ever-changing institution. As we expand, we need solutions that will fit,” said Wright.
"By implementing process changes and communication improvements, we can relay pertinent medical information in advance of a patient’s arrival that allows our teams to be better prepared. "
The organization began by implementing Spok solutions for contact center operations, then added a web‐based employee directory, on-call scheduling, and emergency notification. Today, the Spok Care Connect® critical communications platform provides a central source of directory and schedule information that helps clinicians and others reach the right person around the clock. Over the years, Parkland was able to build on this foundation, enhancing solutions as their needs changed, and making the most of the technology’s capabilities.
“By implementing process changes and communication improvements, we can relay pertinent medical information in advance of a patient’s arrival that allows our teams to be better prepared,” said Wright. The ability to quickly communicate with customized groups has benefited the organization in a number of ways. Parkland staff are able to notify teams of first responders in the event of a major accident such as a plane crash, send out severe weather or disaster alerts, inform hospital staff of a critical situation, and swiftly alert the police department in the case of a nonmedical emergency.
Contacting dynamic groups has also been invaluable for staffing, employee notifications (especially when there’s a need to reach certain specialties), bed management, and clinic scheduling.
“It’s easy in an emergency. It used to be that we had to do a lot of manual inputting of people and groups that needed to be notified. Now it’s all ready to go when we need it,” said Wright.