Case studies

Epworth Healthcare


As Victoria, Australia’s largest private, not-for-profit healthcare group, Epworth HealthCare includes eight hospitals and a large number of specialty clinics. The organization has been providing the Melbourne metropolitan area with quality healthcare for more than 90 years. Epworth strives to provide patients the highest standard of care by embracing the latest technology, medicine, and treatments.


  • Healthcare

Business drivers

  • Simplify communications across multiple hospitals
  • Get numerous alerts/alarms to staff faster via their mobile devices
  • Reduce disruptive noise on patient floors


  • Spok® Messenger clinical alerting


  • Enhanced patient care with rapid responses to nurse call requests
  • Reduced overhead announcements, resulting in a quieter hospital for patients
  • Improved repair times for faulty equipment, saving time and money

The challenge

Epworth HealthCare had a large number of disconnected clinical, safety, and building management systems buzzing and beeping throughout its facilities. They needed an alerting solution that would work with the existing technology and allow them to standardize telecommunications across all the hospitals.

During an upgrade to their PBX system, Epworth decided it was a good time to update its staff alerting system as well.

The solution

Epworth selected the Spok Messenger clinical alerting solution to integrate with its Rauland-Borg™ and Merlon™ nurse call systems. In addition, the solution connects to building management systems (BMS) including blood refrigerators, fire detection, and air conditioning systems. Epworth now has a centralized communication approach with Spok Messenger, which automatically sends messages from each monitoring system to the appropriate staff on pagers, DECT phones, and mobile phones.

“Spok Messenger works with any system that is capable of sending a notification,” said Matt McKay, Telecommunications Specialist for Epworth HealthCare. “At Epworth, we have Spok Messenger connected it to virtually every system we can because it’s reassuring knowing that the right people are automatically notified every time.”

The clinical alerting technology is currently installed in six Epworth hospitals, including Richmond, Freemasons, Eastern, Camberwell, Hawthorn, and Brighton.

At Epworth, we have Spok Messenger connected to virtually every system we can because it’s reassuring knowing that the right people are automatically notified every time.

– Matt McKay, Telecommunications Specialist

The result

To help ensure the best patient care, Spok Messenger notifies the assigned nurse’s DECT phone when a patient pushes a nurse call button. Nurses receive information on the type of alert and where the patient is located, allowing them to quickly assist the patient and clear out the call.

Epworth is also using Spok Messenger’s robust escalation capabilities to make sure nurse call requests are attended to in a timely manner. If the nurse call request is not responded to within a predetermined time limit (Epworth is using two and half minutes), the alert is escalated to the ward manager. Additionally, if the call is still not responded to within another two and half minutes, the director of clinical nurses is then notified, which establishes accountability for the nursing staff.

In an emergency, hospital staff simply push the emergency call button in a patient’s room or the operating theatre. Spok Messenger then sends an automatic notification to the on-duty medical emergency team (MET), cardio team, and/or other operating theatre staff. This alerts the right people quickly and speeds response.

In addition to working with Epworth’s clinical systems, Spok Messenger is also integrated with a number of BMS systems, including blood bank refrigerators and air conditioning systems. When the temperature of a fridge containing the hospital’s precious blood supply goes outside a specific threshold, Spok Messenger sends a notification directly to the engineering department and bio med team. Similarly, when an air conditioning unit malfunctions, a notification is sent to a technician who can begin the repair and reduce downtime. Epworth’s security and switchboard teams are using Spok Messenger’s web portal to manually send code alerts instead of overhead announcements. This provides a quieter hospital for patients and staff.

In a healthcare setting, it is imperative for communication systems to be working at all times, and Spok has provided Epworth with redundancy and highly reliable uptime. “Flexibility of the system was key,” said McKay. “No matter what monitoring system we’re using or plan to use, we have the ability to interface with Spok Messenger. It’s a system you can put in and not have to worry about it.”