COVID-19 has changed the way many hospitals cope with emergency care and intake. We look at how mass notification can help improve patient outcomes in a still uncertain healthcare landscape.
Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has turned the healthcare profession into a challenging landscape of patient management, scheduling issues, worker fatigue, and constant unknowns. Though healthcare professionals and other caregivers have risen to the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, it is clear that healthcare facilities will be coping with complications for months — perhaps years — to come.
When COVID-19 began its spread, the number of acutely ill patients visiting hospitals and other care facilities dropped dramatically (as much as 42%). This was likely due to fear of exposure and the desire of many to not place additional strain on already depleted medical resources.
The ripple effect of these downturns in patient visits was the downsizing of staff for many medical institutions. Multiple regions have experienced staffing shortages in hospitals, nursing facilities and other care institutions. And, those shortages have continued well into 2021, making urgent care for non-COVID patients a greater undertaking for hospitals and their staff members.
Since urgent care and emergency room traffic is difficult to predict in normal circumstances, the addition of a global pandemic, staff shortages, and now-increasing patient volume has placed additional stresses on healthcare professionals. This has led to increased fatigue, fear of negative patient interactions and a wave of departures by nurses and other hospital staff members. This exacerbation of an already-strained system has created a new healthcare crisis in many countries.
The Urgent Need for Communications in Healthcare
Even under the most commonplace circumstances, the need for a comprehensive strategy for healthcare communications is undeniable. For facilities that may be lacking in their approach, staffing and staff safety could be at considerable risk. Additionally, the best patient outcome and patient scheduling can be greatly enhanced with the addition of an overarching communications plan as well as the addition of mass notification.
With a mass notification system in place, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are able to harness a more seamless ecosystem of communication for both critical and routine messaging.
As a leader in mass notifications for healthcare, Regroup provides solutions for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home healthcare settings. Moreover, Regroup’s award-winning platform can help facilities reduce communication costs and increase safety while addressing the new challenges in scheduling and patient management.
Addressing Staffing Shortages in Real-Time
With a cloud-based mass notification system like Regroup, responding to shift shortages is faster and efficient. A pre-configured template can be easily used to notify members of specific departments or units to a shift need. The use of a template can make the process faster and more accurate. Delivered to mobile devices, email or text/SMS, staffing needs are more effectively communicated than with more traditional announcements.
Additionally, Regroup offers geo-targeting technology. This allows administrators and supervisors to send short-staff alerts only within a specified region — enhancing the probability of filling shifts with staff members closest to the facility.
Managing the Safety of Medical Personnel During Uncertainty
Keeping nursing staff safe is — and should be — a paramount concern for any hospital or healthcare facility. At a time when patients and their families may be frustrated with wait times and other factors created by the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of violence against front-line medical staff have escalated.
Even prior to COVID, many studies indicate that violence against nurses and the ancillary medical staff goes largely underreported. As such, it’s vital for staff members to have the ability to send a call for assistance or warning to others in the event of suspicious activity or persons.
A well-rounded mass notification system like Regroup provides mobile apps that allow a distress alert to be sent and two-way communication for instructions and support. Combined with features like Desktop Alerts, these critical notifications have a better probability of reaching response personnel faster.
Such tools can help keep medical staff safer and better informed when patients or their loved ones act in unpredictable ways.
Policies and Procedures Communications
As with virtually any industry, communicating policy changes and updates by traditional mechanisms can result in distribution and adoption gaps. Complementing policy announcements with mass notification distribution can greatly improve results throughout the healthcare environment.
Since mass notification systems like Regroup deliver to email, text/SMS, mobile devices, intranets and even social media, the chances of reaching everyone in the network are greatly enhanced. This can help create a digital paper trail that ensures adoption and staff member accountability.
Such an approach to communicating policy and procedural updates can assist hospitals and their staff members to remain in compliance with mandates and stay better informed of expectations.
Additionally, a platform like Regroup’s can assist facilities in complying with OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard that requires employers to develop and implement standards to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to the workforce.
Good Communication for the Best Outcomes
Even with the numerous challenges hospitals and healthcare facilities face post-COVID, a solid and nimble communication plan can help overcome safety and operational obstacles while keeping medical staff members safe and informed.
Every facility’s needs are unique, but secure and reliable communication tools can help to strengthen staff and patient safety, compliance with mandates, scheduling continuity, and policy adoption. Such an approach can help to improve working conditions for staff and outcomes for patients and their loved ones.
Your Next Steps
We invite you to download Regroup’s Guide to Communications for Healthcare. This quick read illustrates how a mass notification solution can help you better manage patient care, respond to critical events and keep your staff safe at all times.
Ready to see more? You can schedule a no-obligation demo of Regroup’s powerful notification system here.