Avaya Introduces Unified Communications Solutions for Healthcare

Avaya today announced new and enhanced communications solutions to help healthcare providers improve the quality of patient care, while increasing their return on investment and savings. The new solutions use voice-enabled unified communications and multimedia collaboration tools to enable healthcare companies to address key processes such as ‘care coordination’ and ‘patient flow’, and to help ensure their efficient operation.

The solutions are:

> Mobile Device Checkout -- This solution frees hospital and nursing staff from the tethers of the nurse’s station by letting them communicate and receive notifications from anywhere in the hospital using a personalized IP phopne. With the new version of Mobile Device Checkout, each hospital staff member checks out a mobile handset at the beginning of her shift by simply swiping the barcodes on her phone and ID badge. Enhancements include role-based capabilities that enable, for example, a doctor to reach the lead surgical nurse as opposed to making multiple calls to find out who is in that role during a given shift. Additionally, new built-in radio frequency identification technology lets hospital staff keep track of associates by viewing a hospital map on a computer screen.

> Nurse Call Response -- This solution lets patients press the nurse-call button to directly reach an attending nurse (instead of reaching the nurse station). "The system automatically knows which nurse is assigned to which beds and can contact the appropriate nurse directly through the IP phone," explains Sanjeev Gupta, general manager of Avaya's Healthcare Solutions Group.

>Patient Appointment Reminder -- This solution automates outbound calls to remind patients of appointments. Using prompts or speech automation, the solution lets patients confirm the appointments, ask basic questions, or reach a live agent for rescheduling.

>Patient Admit Coordinator -- This patient workflow solution accelerates the hospital admittance process for patients who have been treated in the emergency room. Patient Admit Coordinator can reduce the time it takes for emergency room admissions and reduce patient walk outs. It can automate this process using voice, email, or IM to notify the key departments involved in admitting a patient from the ER. It moves each stage forward on approval, and coordinates the steps to get patients from the ER into the hospital.

"Avaya and Nortel were already heavily involved in healthcare," Gupta says. "We've been hearing from customers that they needed help in two key areas: patient flow improvements and care coordination. A lotof time is wasted on this back-and-forth and waiting for phone calls.

“Addressing care coordination in healthcare is critical so nurses and clinicians can spend more time caring for patients," says Gupta, who points to a growing nurse shortage in the United States. “Efficient patient flow is essential to help healthcare providers improve operating margins and eliminate wasted time.”

Avaya Mobile Device Checkout is available today; Nurse Call Response and Patient Appointment Reminder will be available in June; and Patient Admit Coordinator will be available in July.

Avaya's healthcare solutions are prepackaged and modular, "so hospitals can start with one or two and add on as money becomes available," Gupta adds.

These new solutions come at a time when healthcare providers are starting to collect federal stimulus package money earmarked for IT system improvements in healthcare. Avaya estimates that the market for unified communications solutions in the United States is $1.5 billion.

"We felt there was a compelling need to alleviate the needs our customers were experiencing right now," Gupta says.

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