Case studies

Froedtert Hospital and The Medical College of Wisconsin


Located in Milwaukee, Wis., Froedtert Hospital is the major teaching affiliate of The Medical College of Wisconsin. The hospital has 655 beds and is one of two Level 1 adult trauma centers in Wisconsin. There are 816 Froedtert staff who serve as faculty members and 413 medical students at The Medical College. There are also 330 full-time residents at Froedtert Hospital.


  • Healthcare

Business drivers

  • Improve clinicians ability to reach one another easily
  • Establish an audit trail for all messages, particularly delivery receipts
  • Securely and reliably deliver the large volume of messages sent each year to enable better care


  • Secure messaging


  • Increased assurance of delivery and receipt of messages
  • Improved communication processes
  • Increased provider satisfaction
  • Success is allowing Froedtert to implement to all physicians in health network

The challenge

Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin faced a communications challenge. With no standardized approach to provider communications, a variety of smartphones, pagers, and Wi-Fi phones in use, and more than 1.5 million pages being sent each year, the healthcare network needed to improve critical communications for mobile staff while protecting patient health information and assuring the delivery of messages to the right person.

The solution

Already a customer of Spok for its call center solutions, Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin found their solution with Spok secure messaging .

Their key functionality requirements included reliable delivery and receipts for critical messages and the ability to support the smartphones and data plans staff were currently using. In addition, the solution needed to use both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, be very user-friendly, and integrate with the Spok products already in use. It was particularly important for the solution to be able to pull from Spok web-based staff directory of contact information. Spok secure messaging met all of these requirements.

“[Spok] has provided us with excellent software solutions for quite some time, so we knew we could count on them,” said Dr. Dan DeBehnke, CEO, Medical College Physicians. “The integration with our existing [Spok] solutions was critical to our selection.”

Before [Spok Mobile], we had no sure way to know which messages were or weren’t received. The audit trail of messages is critical for our success.

– Ann Tesmer, Director of Access Services Froedtert Hospital

The result

Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin did an initial pilot implementation with 175 academic physicians. After rolling out Spok Mobile to these users, the benefits were immediate. Spok Mobile helped create better provider communication processes, increased physician satisfaction, and enabled more secure, safer, and more efficient communications. As a result of Spok Mobile’s initial success, Froedtert decided to roll it out to physicians across its entire health network, made up of three hospitals and more than 30 primary and specialty care health centers and clinics.

“One of our main concerns when looking for a secure texting solution was the ability to track the delivery and receipt of messages,” said Ann Tesmer, Director of Access Services at Froedtert. “Before [Spok Mobile], we had no sure way to know which messages were or weren’t received. The audit trail of messages is critical for our success. More importantly, it’s a benefit to the patient, who can rest assured his or her information is being securely transferred and monitored to ensure that someone quickly receives the critical information.”

In addition to tracking messages, the ability for physicians to engage in two-way communications and use a variety of devices has been well received. “We’ve realized that there is not a one-size-fits-all communication solution for our organization,” said Dr. DeBehnke. “[Spok Mobile’s] ability to send messages to a variety of devices, including pagers and Wi-Fi phones, has been an important factor. These are still critical communication devices, and will continue to be in the future. Our patients deserve high quality care, and with [Spok Mobile] we’re able to improve the efficiency of our communications across devices to provide the best care possible.”

The future

Due to the success Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin have experienced with Spok Mobile, the organization is planning for future initiatives with Spok solutions. In particular, they are developing a process to encourage consistent use of Spok Mobile by on-call providers to improve workflow for support staff. They are also analyzing the feasibility of rolling out Spok Mobile to all levels of staff for the entire hospital network.

Additionally, the organization is planning to implement the Spok® e.Notify emergency notification solution. Spok e.Notify works with the Spok directory and on-call information to deliver time-sensitive messages to code teams, collect everyone’s responses, escalate to others if needed, and log all activities. It will integrate with Spok Mobile.