Wasteful Healthcare Spending

by Mark Wechsler | Arrow Systems Integration

The complexity of today’s clinical environment sometimes results in wasteful healthcare spending that is avoidable. Clinical staff communications between offers a good example of the complexity involved in modern healthcare. It also provides ample demonstration of wasteful healthcare spending.

Communication between nurses, physicians, clinical staff, and patients must be timely and accurate. Physicians, for example, need to be accessible during typical office hours, while they are on call, and for emergencies. Conversely, they want assurance that in “off hours”, or when they are inaccessible, communications is routed to peers who are capable of assisting in their absence.

A number of companies are touting the solution. Products from companies such as Perfect Serve enable call routing based on availability and scheduling. Schedules are be populated to drive the calls to different doctors’ telephones based on date and time. Physicians can control their availability as well as hide their actual cell phone number when making calls to patients.

Those of us familiar with modern telecommunication systems recognize all of these functions as basic, unified communication capabilities. While each switch manufacturer has created their own brand name for these features, most of these capabilities are inherent within the modern telephony systems already installed in the hospital. For example, Avaya provides these basic unified communication services as Avaya One-X Mobile and EC-500.

The problem with adoption of these inherent functions is that the individuals who can benefit from their use are not aware of them. It is time to assist healthcare providers to understand the investments they have already made in their communications infrastructure. Regardless of the manufacturer, Avaya, Siemens, NEC, or Microsoft, basic unified communication services now solve many of the physician and staff access, availability, and communication needs. All of this is accomplished without the need to purchase additional application systems and to avoid more wasteful healthcare spending.

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