Three Key Advantages of Enterprise-Wide Clinical Messaging Solutions

Historically, healthcare executives have turned to departmental point solutions to solve communication challenges. For instance, if neurologists asked for a secure way to communicate with colleagues in the department, the head of neurology would research and buy a technology solution for that specific depart­ment—problem solved. While there is a simplicity in that approach, it doesn’t take long for people to realize this strategy’s limitations. If everyone purchases a point solution, then communication and collaboration across departments becomes cumbersome and ineffective. And patient care can be impacted.

Having the ability for clinicians and others to communicate quickly not only across departments in the same building but also with staff located in other buildings, campuses, and cities is now a vital component of care coordination. In addition to making collaboration easier for clinicians, here are three key advantages to using enterprise-wide communication solutions.

antique keys

1 Maximize the dollar value spent
on IT systems

When you purchase point solutions, your per-unit cost is very high, says Brian Edds, vice president of product strategy at Spok. An enterprise system enables healthcare organizations to create economies of scale by addressing multiple communication challenges with fewer solutions. This removes the need for every department to have its own complete system, bringing the per-unit cost down. “It’s more cost-effective for an enterprise system, because you can use the same devices and directory for different workflows in other departments,” Edds explains.

If your focus is just on having a secure texting solution that allows physicians to text each other, then you are missing out on the benefits of texting for workflows like critical test results and physician-nurse communication.

2 Eliminate silos of information

A departmental workflow solution may have worked in the past, Edds says. “But the reality is new reimbursement approaches rely on more care coordination, and communication between multiple departments, constituencies, and workflows is required.” If your focus is just on having a secure texting solution that allows physicians to text each other, then you are missing out on the benefits of texting for workflows like critical test results and physician-nurse communication. Organizations should be looking for ways to stack all of those workflows together, Edds says, to enable care coordination.

3 Improve quality of care

One of the more complicated workflows in a hospital is a code STEMI (ST-segment elevation infarction). A patient arriving in the ED with symptoms of this kind of heart attack requires immediate surgery. The hospital needs to quickly rally a multidisciplinary team of 12 to 30 people that includes physicians, nurses, technicians, and anesthesiologists. STEMI response metrics are measured by door-to-balloon time, meaning the time between when a patient arrives in the ED and when that patient is in the OR receiving treatment. An average door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less is a core quality measure for The Joint Commission. Many hospitals find this metric hovers in the two-hour range, says Edds. But some hospitals have been able to cut their door-to-balloon time in half, from 120 minutes to 50 to 70 minutes, with enterprise critical communication solutions.

emergency hallway


Solutions that can connect clinicians and staff across devices and settings are where healthcare messaging systems are headed, and an enterprise-wide communications infrastructure is the path to get there.

Looking for more information about enterprise-wide communications? Check out these resources:

eBrief: "Today in healthcare the communication infrastructure is the backbone in IT for a lot of strategies that you build upon.”
 —Jim Murry, CIO, Stony Brook University Hospital 
How Connecting Disparate Communications Systems Can Improve Patient Outcomes

Case Study: “We needed a solution we could integrate into our workflows that was cost-effective, easy to implement, and more importantly, easy for our clinicians to use.”
– Dr. Michael Strong, Chief Medical Information Officer, University of Utah Health
University of Utah Health

Video:  As hospitals today confront myriad communication challenges, they often find themselves cobbling together clinical communication systems from different vendors. Unfortunately, these pieces often have separate data sources that usually can’t talk to one another. Spok offers one unified technology platform that can solve multiple challenges across different areas and departments of the hospital. 
The Spok Care Connect® Story