Northwell uses secure texting to enhance patient care

Northwell uses secure texting to enhance patient care
One of Northwell’s newest technological implementations is the use of Microsoft Teams, a cloud-based app that allows physicians, nurses and other health care providers to securely share information about their patients. (Courtesy of Northwell Health)

Glen Cove Hospital has begun using Microsoft Teams as a way for nurses, physicians and other health care providers to securely text one other about their patients; one of the first hospitals in the United States to adopt the platform as Northwell Health rolls out usage systemwide.

This application, which is available on mobile and desktop devices, uses the cloud to safely and securely store information. The application is used on Northwell Health-issued secure mobile phones, which require password and encryption protocols and other mobile devices that meet Northwell’s strict security standards.

“The world of health care moves at a fast pace and using a secure texting platform such as Microsoft Teams allows our staff to more quickly and safely convey information about their patients to each other,” said Bissoondaye Ragoonanan, RN, manager of clinical transformation at the hospital. “This software can potentially speed up patient care and ensure that there are fewer unnecessary wait times.”

To avoid any possible misconceptions, patients receive printed information explaining how their clinicians may use mobile technology to securely text each other to improve communication amongst the care team and enhance patient care.

Glen Cove Hospital recently piloted this technology on its telemetry, brain injury unit and coronary care unit to rave reviews from the staff. The health system’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park also is using the platform for clinical purposes.

“We are proud to be among the first in the nation to use this technology in a clinical setting,” said John Bosco, chief information officer at Northwell Health. “Glen Cove Hospital was well-suited to launch secure texting, part of the health system’s commitment to implementing new and innovative ways to provide the best patient care possible.”

Microsoft Teams is also being used throughout the health system by multiple groups to enhance communication and collaboration. The emergency management teams use it to act quickly on situations needing escalation by creating video meetings with leaders at the click of a button. The full Office 365 suite, including Teams, has been used to create employee workspaces to receive important communications from leaders and to optimize workflow efficiencies by a “one-stop shop” approach – providing the necessary tools used for daily operations at their fingertips. Overall, feedback has been very positive, as additional benefits such as secure group texting, sharing attachments through conversations and reduction in email are realized.

About 8,300 Northwell staff currently use Microsoft Teams and rollouts will continue across the health system this year and into early 2020.

Submitted by Northwell Health.

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