Parkland Implements Vocada’s VoiceLink for CTRM

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World-renowned Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, has joined a growing list of major hospitals that are implementing Critical Test Result Management (CTRM) by using VoiceLink™.

World-renowned Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, has joined a growing list of major hospitals that are implementing Critical Test Result Management (CTRM) by using VoiceLink™.    

VoiceLink, from Dallas-based Vocada, Inc. is the first and only technology-based solution for CTRM. VoiceLink merges voice messaging and data technology to provide fail-safe delivery of critical test results from reporting clinicians to ordering clinicians. More than 70 hospitals nationwide have implemented or are planning to implement VoiceLink for CTRM, and the number is growing by the week.

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and other professional organizations have identified failures and delays in the communication of critical test results as a weak link in health care delivery and a significant threat to patient safety.

Primary teaching hospitals, such as Parkland, are particularly prone to communication problems because most of the front-line doctors are resident physicians who work under the supervision of faculty physicians. Resident physicians work no more than 80 hours per week and rotate on a regular schedule to other teaching sites or services.

Parkland is the primary teaching hospital for the adjacent University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and resident physicians rotate among Parkland, Zale-Lipshy University Hospital, St. Paul University Hospital, and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. With normal rotations and shift changes, there can be delays in communicating critical test results, according to Julia Napper, Parkland’s director of Performance Improvement and Clinical Safety.

Parkland, the anchor of Dallas County’s Parkland Health and Hospital System, initially will use VoiceLink for radiology test results, but may expand the use of VoiceLink to include the Pathology Labs and Cardiology, Napper said.

Parkland’s radiology department performs about 500 exams per day, she said, and the number of critical test results ranges from 4 to 25 per day, mostly generated by the hospital’s busy Emergency Department. A Level 1 trauma center, Parkland sees about 83,000 emergency room patients annually.

VoiceLink is a dedicated communication system for CTRM. VoiceLink’s active technology ensures that critical test results are not only communicated in a real-time environment but also received. VoiceLink captures a confirmation of receipt for each result. The communication audit trail is maintained in a searchable archive for years, and a full reporting module allows for analysis of the communication trail.

Napper said the VoiceLink system enables the hospital to create a communication strategy including alternative physician contacts and escalation procedures without taking up hours and hours of faculty physician time.

By using the reporting features in VoiceLink, she said, administrators will be able to identify problems and trends and see how the physician staff is performing in terms of meeting set goals and objectives.

“Since it’s all automated, it makes compliance (with the National Patient Safety Goals on communicating critical test results) a snap,” she said.

JCAHO’s National Patient Safety Goals for hospitals includes goal 2c: Measure, assess and, if appropriate, take action to improve the timeliness of reporting, and the timeliness of receipt by the responsible licensed caregiver, of critical test results and values, (http://www.jcipatientsafety.org/show.asp?durki=10293&site=164&return=10289 )

Napper said Parkland closely followed the guidelines for critical test result reporting recommended by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors and the Massachusetts Hospital Association. The group reached a broad consensus that errors in the process of communicating critical test results were both frequent and had the potential for serious harm.

The final report of the Massachusetts Coalition and an editorial were published in the February 2005 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, http://www.macoalition.org/Initiatives/docs/CTRgriswold.pdf , and http://www.macoalition.org/Initiatives/docs/CTRbates.pdf .

A white paper, “Closing the Communications Loop to Enhance Patient Safety -- The Case for Critical Test Result Management,” published by Vocada, calls Massachusetts the national leader in the effort to improve critical test result reporting. For a free copy of the white paper, visit http://www.vocada.com .

Cost, of course, also is a major consideration in choosing a CTRM solution. As a hosted system, VoiceLink requires no investment in new hardware of software, which made it especially attractive to the public hospital, where financial pressures tend to be particularly intense, Napper said.

Napper will discuss Parkland’s efforts to enhance patient safety through Critical Test Result Management in a presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators, July 30 – Aug. 3, 2006 in Las Vegas, http://www.ahra.com.

Also at AHRA, Vocada will introduce major enhancements to its CTRM product line. Vocada will be exhibiting at booth #529/531 at AHRA.

About Vocada, Inc.

Vocada’s VoiceLink™ critical test result management solution is the only enterprise solution for communicating critical test results from hospital diagnostic departments to ordering clinicians. Using a patented, hosted system, VoiceLink’s active technology automates the distribution of critical test results in a real-time, assured and trackable solution, simultaneously enhancing patient safety and boosting physician productivity. The privately held, Dallas-based company was founded in October 2000 by brothers Peter and Thomas White, who were both previously involved with other innovative and successful technology ventures. The company¹s first product, VoiceLink, was introduced in 2004. For more information, visit http://www.vocada.com.

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Gregory Graze
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