The hospital’s required a unified communications (UC) system as a platform for everything from voice telephony to automated emergency and other alerts to machine—to machine communication using sensors and RFID tags.
PFH assisted the ICT team to build out the unified communications on the existing Siemens server and OpenScape office mobility solution and OpenScape Alarm Response (OScAR). “It is almost impossible to over-state the importance and potential value of this system,” said McCormack. “We have a dedicated communications server and can preprogram all sorts of automated tasks and scenarios. We are consciously and methodically innovating across all of our business processes and systems, working with the Innovation Value Institute in Maynooth, I am certain this whole unified communications area is going to be particularly fruitful.’’
He pointed to the cardiac emergency response system now in place. “All of our clinical and indeed other staff are trained to recognise an emergency and make the call,” McCormack said. “All the person has to do is press a specific key on the nearest phone to start a cascade of automated events. Within 0.2 seconds, the system recognises the location and alerts the cardiac team by audio bleep signal and text with accurate location. We have shortened our average response time by at least 30 seconds.”
Speed and efficiency has been complemented by economy, because the emergency teams are now equipped with lighter, smarter and cheaper paging units that can carry voice, audio and display text. The ‘presence’ capability of unified communications, showing where someone is and their availability status, is now being implemented on the Beaumont system. “It will be immensely valuable at what we call ’points of escalation’, when a doctor needs to consult a senior, registrar or consultant. “ McCormack said. “That presence feature will show what might be the best channel-phone, text, email or just forward the report or scan or whatever if the senior is available at a desk and screen. It is just efficient and time saving for everyone.’’
Another valuable ad hoc feature is ‘follow me’ routing. A consultant awaiting an important report can be alerted to its availability by any communications channel available to the system, including mobile phone. Where is Dr. X at the moment? On duty but in another location, just choose the best way to communicate. “Even just a one-click message to call back is valuable,” McCormack said.