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Acute Care Moves To Secure Healthcare Communication Platforms

Acute care organizations are moving toward secure healthcare communication platforms that streamline enterprise-wide communication.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- Acute care organizations are moving toward secure healthcare communication platforms that streamline enterprise-wide communication, while ambulatory organizations are focused on HIPAA-compliant secure messaging.

That was one finding of a report entitled Decision Insights: Secure Communication 2018 released Oct. 30 by KLAS Research.

“Today, many acute care organizations are expanding their visions to include interfaces and functionality that improve communication for multiple workflows, thereby improving patient care,” the report observed.

“Regardless of where they started, all vendors in the acute care space are attempting to meet customers’ needs with functionality in the critical areas of EMR interfacing, clinician scheduling, and middleware interfacing, as well as their less urgent needs for notification routing and corporate-owned shared devices,” it added.

KLAS cited TigerConnect (formerly TigerText), Voalte, and Epic as having above average market recognition, strong customer retention (90 percent and above), and high customer satisfaction in the secure communication platform space.

At the same time, Halo Communications (formerly Doc Halo) and Vocera have high market recognition and high customer satisfaction but fall short on retention rate. Cerner scores well on market recognition and customer retention rate but comes up short on customer satisfaction. Lua scores high on all three but is focused on the post-acute care market only.

The report related that product functionality and a pre-existing relationship were the top factors cited by organizations when choosing specific secure communication vendors.

While the KLAS Research indicates that acute care organizations are moving to broad communication platforms, a recent survey of 770 hospital professionals and 1,279 physician practices by Black Book Market Research found that secure text messaging is the first choice to send sensitive information.

“Organizations are adopting secure text messaging platforms because texts are convenient,” observed Black Book Market Research President Doug Brown.

Doc Halo ranked first among physician organizations for secure communications platforms in the 2018 Black Book Cybersecurity study of healthcare industry solutions. PerfectServe, Patient Safe Solutions, Vocera, Imprivata, Spok, OnPage, TigerText, Telemediq, and Voalte also received high marks based on 18 key performance indicators specific to cybersecurity and privacy software and services.

Spok scored highest among hospital systems and inpatient organizations. Qlik, TigerText, Vocera, Doc Halo, Cerner, and Imprivata were ranked among the best inpatient secure communications platforms by Black Book.

A Spok survey of hospital CIOs found that 72 percent of respondents said the they use secure texting as part of their mobile program.

Around eight out of ten respondents said that secure messaging among their care teams was the motivating factor behind their selection of mobile technology. Receiving alerts from clinical systems, such as patient monitors, was cited by 60 percent of respondents as a driving factor, while a similar percentage said getting critical test result alerts was the main factor behind their selection of mobile technology.

The top challenge for rollout out of secure texting was physician adoption and buy-in, followed by lack of funding, according to respondents.

A full 80 percent of CIOs get buy-in by including clinician representatives on the planning committee, while three-quarters said that developing internal champions helped achieve buy-in.

EHR integration and interoperability are becoming increasingly important for providers, the survey found. Around 71 percent of CIOs said they base investment decisions for communications-related technologies on integrating with the EHR.

Two-thirds of respondents said that integration with other systems was important for communication technologies, while 62 percent stressed usability. Just over half said meeting clinician needs was the driving factor for investing in mobile technology.

“The point of view behind the healthcare CIO’s desk is one of challenges and opportunities, considering future investments and measuring success,” researchers stated.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how healthcare CIOs keep pace with advancing technologies — integrating their systems and ensuring adoption, while keeping the patient perspective front and center,” they concluded.

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