Case studies

The Ottawa Hospital


The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) was formed in 1998 after merging and consolidating the services of the Civic, General, and Riverside facilities. Functioning in both English and French, TOH emphasizes tertiary-level and specialty care, primarily for residents of Eastern Ontario. They educate future healthcare professionals in partnership with the University of Ottawa and other affiliated universities, community colleges, and training organizations. Through an alliance with Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, TOH also develops, shares, and applies new knowledge and technology.


  • Healthcare

Business drivers

  • Establish an audit trail of message receipts
  • Support fast, secure communication via smartphones and tablets


  • Secure messaging


  • More satisfied providers
  • Extra time with patients
  • Secure, easy messaging among staff

The challenge

With the ever-increasing need for clinicians to communicate on the go, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) decided to implement a secure and efficient solution for text messaging that was supported on multiple smartphone and tablet devices among their staff.

The solution

A longtime Spok customer for call center solutions, TOH selected Spok Mobile® due to its flexible messaging and audit trail features. Another benefit was that Spok Mobile could pull existing staff contact information straight from the hospital’s online directory to ensure the right person can be reached correctly at any time.

“[Spok] has supported our critical communications via our call center for a long time,” said Margaret Quirie, Director, Library Services and Telecommunications. “[Spok] is also helping us keep our employee contact information centralized and up to date. Now we’re using [Spok Mobile] for our staff to easily communicate with one another on all the different devices they carry.” In fact, TOH is rolling out Spok Mobile to more than 3,000 users, with champions spreading the enthusiasm.

I hear really positive feedback. A few surgeons on the trial wanted to instantly switch to the program. With [Spok Mobile] we can care for our patients better, and we can do it more efficiently, saving that time for more patient interaction.

– Margaret Quirie Director, Library Services and Telecommunications

The result

Spok secure messaging capabilities have brought enhanced security and safety for patients and increased clinician satisfaction. Physicians in particular are pleased to use their smartphones for smoother communications, allowing them to spend more time with patients. Other groups using the Spok app are nurse managers, family medicine, residents, and the call center staff.

The audit trail is key to the improved staff satisfaction. “Our OB-GYN group is really excited that they can track their own messages and see what was received and responded to,” said Quirie. “We also send a lot of code calls using [Spok Mobile] instead of announcing them overhead. Our operators can see if all messages are acknowledged. The audit trail also offers proof that a message has gone through.”

In addition to providing healthcare to the community, TOH is a research and teaching hospital with more than 800 residents. “Our residents use texting quite a bit to communicate,” said Quirie. “[Spok Mobile] allows them to securely message among themselves on the iPads® we give them.” Spok Mobile is also helping staff save time with quick response templates for common alerts, eliminating the need to type replies for every message.