Spok Holdings, Inc. - Solutions/Service Company

Spok Holdings, Inc.: Building a Smarter Healthcare Communication Environment

 Vincent D. Kelly, President & CEO, Spok Holdings, Inc. Real superheroes do not wear capes, but they wear scrubs with white coats and save thousands of lives in a single day. These superheroes are doctors, physicians, and nurses. However, unlike fictional superheroes, they have no superpower, and they are as human as we are. As a normal human being, they face many challenges that hinder better patient care outcomes. The most significant challenge is lack of seamless communication between all the entities involved in care delivery due to non-standardized processes, communications overload, and frustration with existing communications products, like landline phones, VoIP handsets, overhead paging systems, and EHR-based messaging tools.

However, with the right technology, the capabilities of the medical professionals can also be enhanced. If the communication and collaboration are at its best in a healthcare institution, there is no denying that the healthcare providers will easily be able to deliver the care that results in the best possible outcomes. Helping healthcare industry in achieving this goal is Spok that is positively changing the landscape of the clinical communication by providing the highest standard of communication technology that is designed to meet today's challenges. "Hospitals today are facing significant challenges when it comes to communication. There is a need to exchange information quickly and securely with a mobile workforce, and at the same time comply with regulatory requirements," says Vincent D. Kelly, president, and chief executive officer of Spok Holdings, Inc. To this end, the firm’s unified technology platform improves workflows across the organization, from the contact center to the patient's bedside and includes every care team, from doctors and nurses to housekeeping and transport staff. It also scales to support growing clinical communications needs as the healthcare industry evolves.

Communicating, Alerting and Notifying: All-in-One

Being in the clinical communication field for over three decades, Spok effectively offers clinical information to care teams, when and where it is needed most. The firm provides Spok Care Connect, a full suite of solutions, to easily integrate with existing workflows and enables healthcare providers to pass on the critical information swiftly and safely to the clinicians who need to act on it—wherever they are and on whatever device they are using.

Spok Care Connect is a unified platform that provides directory details, on-call schedule, staffs contact preferences, secure messaging, and several more. The all-in-one platform improves workflow across the hospital from the contact center to the patient’s bedside by involving everyone in the care team, from doctors and nurses to housekeeping and transport staffs. Spok Care Connect is all about workflow-driven communication and diminishing the time it takes to send results, coordinated consult or get the right people in the patient’s room as quickly as possible.

We are excited to bring together some of the industry’s leading innovators who are pushing the boundaries to advance and improve healthcare communications

Solutions that define Spok Care Connect are Secure Hospital Communications featuring safe text messaging, preferences and escalations, and encrypted paging; and Clinical Alerting and Notification that includes emergency notification, critical test results, nurse call, patient monitoring, EHR interoperability, and other clinical systems. Also, the Physician and Nurse Scheduling Systems that has features like on-call scheduling and staff assignments; and Hospital Contact Center Solutions that consists operator console, web-based directory, speech recognition, and call recording are also integrated inside Spok Care Connect.

After the 2017 release of some added features in Spok Care Connect, the platform now enables clinicians to add clinical context to a secure message to assist in decision-making, in spite of what device they use. It takes out vital details from a hospital's admit, discharge, and transfer (ADT) system to offer real-time alerts and alarm notifications. This added feature also enables physicians and nurses to be better informed and take action more effectively for their patients. "The patient-centric messaging capabilities of Spok Care Connect now allow physicians and nurses to have more clinically relevant information at their fingertips to support care decisions. These new features are a direct result of listening to our customers and translating their feedback into enhanced solutions," states Hemant Goel, President of Spok Holdings, Inc.

In addition, Spok Care Connect also has the support of the Rauland Responder 5 system that integrates with Spok clinical alerting via SIP protocol, enabling fast notification and alert delivery to clinicians without the need for legacy serial TAP integration. While, the platform’s integration with QGenda, a provider of cloud-based automated physician scheduling solutions, allows clinician on-call schedules to be pushed into the Spok Care Connect on-call schedules. Apart from these, what makes Spok Care Connect more efficient and easily handled is its secure texting feature, hospital contact center, and computer telephony integration (CTI).

"Being in the clinical communication field for over three decades, Spok effectively offers clinical information to care teams, when and where it is needed most"

The Customer Centric Process

Spok also helps healthcare institutions and providers in making strategies that help address a number of issues and enable them to plan for the future. In an instance, Children’s Hospital Colorado–a private, not-for-profit pediatric healthcare network founded in 1908–decided to enhance access to care as well as provide specialty care closer to families’ home and formed 15 regional “Network of Care” locations. The expansion included several urgent care centers, full-scale emergency departments, and specialty care clinics. However, as the institution grew, the staff of Children’s Hospital Colorado decided to become a ‘silent hospital.’

“This meant reducing disruptive noises such as loud public-address announcements, alarms, and alerts. The initiative required staff to re-evaluate the organization’s entire critical communications strategy. Our goal was to make sure that we could still communicate effectively and get the right physician to the right bed on time, without impacting the patient experience,” explains Andrew Blackmon, chief technology officer at the hospital.

First, the hospital thought of their paging solution but soon realized that it would not be able to provide sufficient flexibility and coverage throughout the new facility. Apart from that, Children’s Hospital Colorado also required a reliable solution for nurse call alerts and code calls, and a system to handle on-call scheduling, as well as reducing the number of devices that staff needed to carry.

The team started looking for a strategic partner, and soon they found Spok. The reliability and advantages of Spok’s paging solution attracted the staffs of the hospital, and they opted to incorporate on-call scheduling and nurse call alerts. After some days, the hospital eventually started a trial of the Spok Mobile secure text messaging solution, which always allowed busy physicians to correspond with each other more swiftly and effortlessly. “We are working to limit clinician interruptions so physicians can concentrate on the patient,” said Blackmon.

After the successful implementation of the Spok’s platform, the Children’s Hospital Colorado’s communication reliability improved, eventually enhancing the overall care delivery process. The staffs at the hospital can now better manage treatment plans as they are able to analysis logs and supervise when pages were sent, received, and acknowledged. They also now have the ease of careful, secure mobile communication without depending on public announcements for the exchange of messages. And most outstandingly, the quieter hospital has enhanced patient care and satisfaction.

Path to Success

In July, Spok announced its operating results for the second quarter and said that the firm’s performance in the second quarter of 2018 was according to their expectations. Kelly mentioned that in addition to the firm’s quarterly financial performance, Spok made growth in numerous other key areas, including product development, sales strategy, and critical strategic partnership agreements.

The firm has recently partnered with industry-leading organizations, like Bernoulli Health to enhance its clinical alarm management offering and Zebra Technologies’ PartnerConnect channel partner program to offer Zebra’s enterprise-class mobile devices to hospitals and health systems throughout North America.

In June, Spok also strengthened its position as an industry thought leader with the release of the results of its eighth consecutive survey of mobile strategies in healthcare. Besides, during the quarter, the firm started working with thirteen new customers. Finally, Spok is continuing to make significant progress in enhancing its Care Connect platform offering by joining experienced product and development leadership, staff and consulting resources. “We are excited to bring together some of the industry’s leading innovators who are pushing the boundaries to advance and improve healthcare communications. Our collaboration with hospital leaders has helped us create an enterprise platform that positions healthcare providers for success today and supports them with faster, smarter clinical communications for the next decade,” concludes Kelly.

- Divya Kishore
    November 21, 2018