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  • A new way to streamline healthcareBetter information fasterRicher communicationImproved experience

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    A new way to streamline healthcareReducing manual processes while providing better, real-time information to patients and caregivers

    Have you tried looking at your hospital from a patients or visitors perspective recently?

    If so, you might recognize one of the ironies of modern life: that, with some notable if limited exceptions, hospitals are brimming with staggeringly sophisticated diagnostic and treatment capabilities, yet somehow are often reliant on manual procedures for basic administration procedures abandoned long ago by commercial enterprise and even government.

    Paper forms for admittance, for meals, for surveys. Paper patient charts. Whiteboards to track room availability. Behind the scenes, lots of phone calls and walking between rooms and nurses stations, and with a lack of integration between systems.

    Our personal computers have been keeping track of everything about our lives for nearly two decades; certainly there must be a better way to empower patients while leveraging staff and facility resources.

    There is.

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    A birds-eye solution view

    Unify, formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications, has teamed with its partners to deliver OpenScape Health Station, the first UC-enabled point-of-care patient workflow solution. The net result is recovered time and productivity, yielding significant hard and soft savings while enhancing the patient experience.

    Unifys award-winning1 suite of UC solutions brings together voice, mobility, Web collaboration, video, messaging, and contact centre applications into a single, purpose-built unified user experience. These solutions empower todays anywhere healthcare workers with tools to communicate and collaborate more effectively. By integrating Health Station with UC, Unify and its partners enable a full array of patient and clinical applications delivered through an intuitive, easy-to-use bedside terminal for the patient, multimedia infotainment, electronic meal-ordering and onscreen surveys and, for staff, secure access to hospital applications and tools to record, track and manage the patient stay. All at the bedside, automated, and fully-integrated.

    The Gordian knot of hospitalization

    Once upon a time, a hospital stay was a relatively simple undertaking: an accident or condition prompted a visit, you were examined, treated, then either sent home or admitted. Payers and regulators didnt impose a lot of complex rules. Administrators and providers werent measured and compensated on benchmarks. And patients got the care they needed, whatever that involved.

    Those days are long gone. KPIs rule the day. Carrots and sticks.

    Our patient population is more at the extremes now. We are older and our conditions far more chronic. Situations that once resulted in observation now resolve in sending the patient home, and those that would have resulted in admittance now resolve with observation. Admitted patients are likely to have far more complex diagnoses and care plans. Whereas care was once the sole criteria, it is now shared with, and sometimes threatened by, cost. Costs are further impacted by length of stay, bed availability, examinations, lab work, pharmacy, and by who does the work.

    So hospitals reside in a land of multiple masters: payers demanding more for less, regulators requiring compliance, and patients with greater needs and higher expectations.

    Cutting the knot enhancing efficiency and competency

    If there is one solution more obvious than another, it would seem to be efficiency. Getting more from staff and facilities while reducing length of stay and unnecessary procedures, and transferring labor from high-cost to lower-cost providers. But efficiency has to be balanced with good care. Especially with social media volatility, patient satisfaction matters. So, the key is, not balancing, but maximizing efficiency, care, and expectations.

    1 Gartner, Inc. (2013). Leader in Gartners Magic Quadrants for Unified Communications and Corporate Telephony.

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    Better information faster, richer communication

    Through OpenScape Health Station, hospitals can streamline business processes and support mobile staff by providing full visibility of all care team members presence (visual indication of availability) and preferred method of contact. This makes it possible to reach out to colleagues, experts, even translator services via the bedside terminal, saving time and additional costs. With greater access to team members and patient information, medical staff can make quicker decisions directly at the bedside.

    Hospital benefits

    When patients move through the flow of a hospital visit, from admissions desk, to diagnosis and care, to bed assignment and, eventually, discharge, they also usually pass through a labyrinth of processes and systems, manual and electronic. However, gaps in those processes and systems could mean information input at one point is not propagated at the next and, so, must be re-entered if it isnt missed altogether. Health Station weaves seamlessness into this environment by integrating previously disparate applications, automating manual processes, and layering in rich, intelligent collaboration at the point of care. This helps care teams analyze, communicate, and treat patients better and more efficiently.

    The Health Station platform integrates admissions and patient records with analytic and diagnostic tools, such as Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), lab test ordering and results, and e-pharmacy.

    Logging in through card swipe or proximity-based RFID, care staff can retrieve, review, and update information at the bedside. This eliminates the intensely resource-consuming manual processes of producing, transposing, transporting, duplicating, and archiving patient records. By themselves, before any other considerations, these efficiency improvements can have an enormous impact on hospital operating costs about $520k per annum for a 500-bed hospital2. Even more critically, information is reviewed and updated in real time, while fresh in mind, reducing the likelihood that subtle but critical details may be left out.

    2 Deloitte (2013). The Economic Impact of Hospedia Clinical Access. Converted from 335k based on the rate for the date of publication, May, 2013.

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    Integrating Unifys Health Station OpenScape UC applications enables new levels of effective team collaboration to benefit the patient. Resident on the same bedside terminal, OpenScapes sophisticated presence capabilities show clinicians and nurses the availability of other team members and specialists eliminating unsuccessful call attempts and unnecessary runs to the nurses station. A quick visual scan of the monitor shows who is free to join a discussion, and who may be busy in another call or offline. Then available personnel are joined through a simple screen touch, individually or in conference, by voice and video. Even off-site (and, if warranted, off-duty) specialists can be rapidly joined through OpenScapes single-click One Number Service (ONS) function, ringing them automatically at the device of their choice, without the caller needing to determine which number to call.

    Taking these off-the-shelf capabilities to a higher level of patient-centric care, Unifys Professional Services team can integrate OpenScape with the hospitals EMR solution to dynamically tailor care team availability to just those assigned to the patient, rather than all of the clinicians contacts.

    The choices for collaboration are focused more tightly on only those pertinent to each patients individual care and, with a tap of the screen, your team is virtually assembled at the bedside.

    These rapid and focused team collaborations enable decisions to be made quickly, saving time, and possibly even saving lives. And because case notes are recorded immediately, payments are timely and risk is reduced, because records are accurate and complete.

    Also, by observing and engaging in more detailed, personalized patient care discussions at the bedside, research suggests that patients feel more positive about their experience.3 This sort of enhanced patient satisfaction can positively impact a hospitals revenue through attaining regulatory and compliance targets (e.g., HCAHPS) as much as $400k per annum for the same 500-bed facility. And, with the help of social media and public surveys, patients are more likely to choose a hospital with higher customer ratings.

    3 Society of Hospital Medicine (U.S.), Mourad, M., et al (2011). Patient Satisfaction with a Hospitalist Procedure Service: Is Bedside Procedure Teaching Reassuring to Patients?

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    Patient benefits

    One of the most immediately understandable patient benefits Unifys solution regards bedside entertainment. Through their multi-use terminals, patients can easily access secure internet service, video and television. The terminal stand holds the touch-monitor and optional keyboard, making it easier for patients to use rather than balancing devices on a knee or pillow (and, then, finding another place to set them during sleep), finding power, and connecting to the hospitals IT network or, more expensively, to cellular providers.

    Providing these capabilities to patients yields measurable benefits to hospitals. Patient satisfaction with their hospital stay increases with the availability of these services. This is especially so for elderly patients, with those 65 and over reporting a 16% increase in overall satisfaction, and a hefty 32% change for those over 75 years4. As patients increasingly consider a hospitals facilities and amenities, not just its treatment, discriminatin

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