A Tool for Our Times
Having pulled a few hospitalist shifts the past two weekends, I can say with certainty the stresses on the Boston hospital where I work, its staff and its physicians have increased over the past few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated. Our facility now has an isolation ward for suspected COVID patients, which we have filled in short order. My resident team diagnosed the first confirmed COVID case in the house, a dubious honor that sadly heralds the fact that there will be more to follow. However, amongst the angst regarding the unknown, the changing hospital processes, the staffing concerns and PPE shortfalls, there was an underlying confidence that we will make a difference in patients’ lives and successfully address this challenge.
That said, as the crisis continues it is highly likely clinicians at all hospitals will be required to care for more patients, more quickly. Facilities across North America are readying tents and RVs to accommodate a surge of patients who will need to be triaged, tested and treated expeditiously. In crisis care settings – imagine a physician working in a parking lot triage tent, or working remotely while quarantined at home in the middle of the night – instant access to complete patient records and communication with care team members from mobile devices is essential. Collaboration on the fly will be the order of the day, as time per patient shrinks and the geographic distance between clinicians expands.
Which brings us to PatientKeeper’s newest offering, Clinical Communications Suite Now. It enables providers to:
- Immediately access patient records via native iOS and Android apps on smartphones and tablets
- Securely instant message care team members, consultants, practice administrators, and any other necessary hospital staff, with access to the full patient record embedded in the message
- Share quick notes about patients with other providers using a simple “scratch pad” to capture the most salient points — ideal for handing off to coverage and/or basic documentation in a high-volume, high-throughput crisis care / triage environment
- Support telemedicine practice by enabling remote access to patient records
We’re entering a period in which healthcare delivery systems will face multiple concurrent stressors. Current and anticipated shortages of PPE and ventilators have been getting all the press lately, but providers can also expect to experience EHR-related “shortages” in the form of limited access to hospital computer workstations, training resources, and training time. This last point should not be overlooked: Since hospitals will likely hire a lot of per diem/locum/semi-retired physicians to meet patient care needs, IT systems that are intuitive, and that require minimal training for users to get up and running, will be essential. For all these reasons, I’m excited about the utility and timeliness of PatientKeeper’s Clinical Communications Suite Now. It’s a tool that can make a difference in patients’ lives and the lives of those charged with their care.