Automating the Secure Delivery of Information from MEDITECH’s EMR to Physician Smartphones
Beaufort Memorial Hospital Implements Forward Advantage’s New Secure Messaging Connector for Imprivata Cortext®
Three years ago, Ed Ricks noticed that physicians at Beaufort Memorial Hospital were quite literally taking matters into their own hands to gain clinical efficiency. They were sending text messages to each other using their own smartphones, a practice that is common among physicians and one that poses a significant PHI security risk and HIPAA violation. As the VP of Information Services and CIO at Beaufort, Ricks knew that creating a policy against texting would be ineffective. Instead, he opted to embrace it using the Imprivata Cortext Secure Messaging Platform. Imprivata Cortext provides a HIPAA-compliant way for physicians to send mobile messages to one another, and these messages synchronize across multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktops. “We asked ourselves how we could accept texting but also use it to enhance what we’re doing,” says Ricks. “The opportunity came when Forward Advantage asked us to be a beta site for its new Imprivata Cortext Connector.”
As a long-time customer of Forward Advantage, Beaufort uses Communication Director to automate the distribution of clinical reports and other information to its physicians. This information is received from MEDITECH’s EMR and sent according to a physician’s delivery preference. Forward Advantage created the Imprivata Cortext Connector to integrate Communication Director with Imprivata Cortext so that the same information can be automatically delivered to physician smartphones. “We’re getting better value out of the solutions we already had in place,” continues Ricks. “We’ve made communications more efficient and have improved physician satisfaction and patient safety.”
Too Many Communication Silos Create Inefficiency
Prior to the Imprivata Cortext Connector, physicians at Beaufort heavily relied on their pagers. “We used pagers for years, and it was inefficient,” says Ricks. “Physicians could say they never received the page, or they’d play phone tag with the nurse who paged them. It created a lot of frustration.” This inefficiency forced physicians to carry multiple devices, including personal cell phones, sometimes an organizational cell phone, and often more than one pager. “We didn’t want to have all of these communication silos, because we’re trying to streamline processes and improve care team coordination. Physicians are busy, and they know how to be efficient, which is why they began texting in the first place.”
What advice does Ricks offer other organizations with the same challenge? “Text messaging has to be HIPAA compliant and include auditing,” says Ricks. “It has to have 100 percent uptime and accommodate folks who’d rather use a desktop than a mobile device. It’s all about creating better workflows, so some level of EMR integration makes sense.”
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Integration Data Sheet
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EMR Integration Creates Better Workflows for Better Outcomes
Information that can easily be sent from MEDITECH’s EMR by Communication Director includes ADT notifications, critical lab results, consult requests, and more. Prior to the Imprivata Cortext Connector, consult requests at Beaufort were managed by a staff member who would call the physician, log into MEDITECH that they tried to leave a message, and note whether they received a response. It often took multiple pages and calls to get a hold of the consulting physician which was inefficient and delayed patient care. Now when a consult request comes from MEDITECH, it is immediately sent as a secure text to the physician. “This new workflow is great from a quality and outcomes perspective,” says Ricks. “It’s better for patients and has reduced their length of stay, which provides a clear cost benefit for us.” The same goes for ADT notifications and lab results, because physicians can respond immediately if a patient is admitted to the ER or has a critical lab value. “We remind people all the time that we’re not here to run an IT organization; we’re running a healthcare organization,” continues Ricks.
Nearly $1 Million in Savings Per Hospital Per Year
According to “The Imprivata Report on the Economic Impact of Inefficient Communications in Healthcare,” nearly $1 million could be saved per hospital per year by using secure text messaging for clinical communications during three critical workflows: patient admissions, emergency response team coordination, and patient transfers. Imprivata also cites that HIPAA violations from unsecure SMS messages can cost up to $1.5 million per event, per hospital. “Today, more than ever, hospitals expect to get more value out of the money they spend,” says Lee Howard, vice president of client services at Forward Advantage. “Imprivata Cortext Connector delivers on this expectation by bringing more value to MEDITECH, Communication Director, and Cortext.”