Originally used for emergency notification systems, mass notification systems for healthcare are rapidly expanding in form and function. In fact, mass communications are now commonplace in most healthcare settings. Using mobile and other expanded technologies, employees now utilize these systems to leverage a more connected and efficient means of communications, which can hold many benefits for any healthcare organization.
The benefits of mass notification systems are abound, but the most important ones to healthcare organizations include enhanced operational efficiencies in many areas, including:
- Code calling and STEMI alerts with multiple contact paths;
- Allowing charge nurses to quickly and efficiently communicate with their staff to fill open shifts automating staffing processes; and
- Communicating across multiple facilities in the case of a regional emergency or natural disaster.
- Automated Healthcare Surveys
If you are considering a mass notification system for your healthcare organization, there are some key features to consider.
1. Reporting and Analytics Tools
A quality mass communication system should include robust reporting and analytics tools that allow system administrators to monitor and evaluate their mass communication system messages. Some metrics to measure could include:
- The message’s reach to its target audience.
- The consistency of the message’s delivery.
- Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
- The quality of the message (was it effective?).
2. Social Media Monitoring
Social networks provide a source of real-time news updates. A mass notification system for healthcare that has social media integration can help track the spread of the important message, and social conversation surrounding it. It is important to note that social media should always be closely monitored if being used by a healthcare organization to disseminate any mass communication. Social media can also be used to assess an external critical incident that may affect the hospital, its staff, and its patients.
3. Operational Tools
In everyday situations, a mass communication system can improve an organization’s operations by automating staffing notifications. Healthcare administrators and leaders can use various channels to communicate one single message, or schedule regular, routine messages to targeted groups or individuals. From filling nursing shifts, to notifying on-call staff, to sending meeting reminders and reminding staff of benefits enrollment, healthcare organizations can benefit from achieving such operational efficiencies.
Mass notification systems in healthcare can assist organizations in complying with CMS requirements regarding emergency preparedness. In 2013, CMS released a federal register regarding emergency preparedness requirements for health care organizations that provide care for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
CMS determined that a communications plan is one of four components integral to a healthcare facility’s emergency management and preparedness activities. A mass notification system can be an extremely useful tool in achieving such requirements.