Feb 21, 2011 (02:02 AM EST)
Avaya Upgrades Hospital Mobile Communications System

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The latest upgrade of Avaya's communications management system will support smartphones and tablets in addition to a hospital's WLAN devices. The company announced the upgrade Monday at the Health Information and Management Systems Society conference in Orlando, as well as showing off its automated patient reminder system.

The Mobile Device Checkout 3.0 system lets staff easily communicate from anywhere in a hospital by personalizing whatever wireless device they are carrying. A doctor, nurse or other clinician simply registers a shared or personal mobile device at the beginning of his or her shift by swiping the device's barcode and their ID badge at a checkout station. The person's personal phone number is then assigned to that device for the duration of the shift, so that person can be contacted at the same number all the time.

The system can be integrated with other applications such as time and attendance software, and alarms and messages can be routed to a specific person, as well. The system also eliminates the need for staff to perform multiple logins to access clinical applications.

Communication in hospitals today is generally a manual processes, says Sanjeev Gupta, general manager of Avaya's Healthcare Solutions Group. A nurse picks up a phone that has a pre-assigned extension, and then she writes the extension on a piece of paper or a white board so other staff members know her number, Gupta said. Mobile Device Checkout eliminates that manual process, because the nurse's phone number doesn't change each day.

"The device takes on the identity of the nurse, based on her role, versus the other way around," he said. "The phone identifies the nurse, and she has everything that's part of her patients' care, her personal voice mail, etc."

Mobile Device Checkout works with iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys, and other mobile devices, Gupta said.

Avaya's Patient Follow-up offering automates communication with patients about treatment required after they've been discharge from a hospital or other healthcare facility. An automated voice system links to a hospital's information system and proactively calls patients, asking customized questions and providing reminders about medication, exercise and other follow-up care.

The system is designed to eliminate the need for staff to make repetitive follow-up calls, reduce patient re-admissions and help hospitals meet new pay-for-performance requirements.

"A large portion of Medicare and Medicaid spending is on disease management," Gupta said. "If a patient is re-admitted within 30-days with the original condition, Medicare and Medicaid will not pay the provider." High-risk patients are identified and tracked through their responses to Avaya's system, more effectively managing patients with chronic diseases, he said.



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