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Improving Communications Over the Air

CKHS home care/hospice nurses can now access a patient’s Crozer-Keystone Health Network medical record while on the road, says Jane Hanahan, MHA, BSN, RN, administrative director of Home Care/Hospice. This helps ensure that a patient receives prompt and appropriate nursing care that could prevent re-hospitalization.

“During the course of a patient’s time under our care, the ­­­­­nurse may need to call the physician to report a change in symptoms, a medication that might need to be changed, or to request the latest test results," Hanahan explains.

With access through a wireless “air card,” the nurses can log into CKHS’ secure network to access the records and even leave a message for the physician with questions or concerns.

“In the 2011 pilot, the nurses and the doctor liked it because it improved communication between them and eliminated the phone tag that had become fairly routine,” says Hanahan. “Nurses could get easy access to lab values and get any other information about the patient. It improved communication and coordination of care.”

Now, the nurses using the air cards love having the access because, “they have a better understanding of what it happening with the patient," says Hanahan. "They don’t have to call the doctor to get results. It has eliminated a lot of calling back and forth.”

In addition, the new system saves time for physicians as well. The nurse can leave communication notes for the physician so he/she has up to date clinical information. In the event there’s an urgent need to share information, the nurses would use the telephone or page.

The implementation has begun with seven nurses and will be rolled out to more nurses over time.