When a gunman opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, 214 victims were transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. The people at Sunrise were ready, in large part, because the house supervisor had prepared the team using iMobile.

The secure instant-messaging system was used to send a mass message to caregivers, alerting everyone who was able to report to the ER. When victims arrived, hospital staff, physicians, and nurses had already been prepared and deployed.

“There is no way we could have communicated with the entire staff that quickly without iMobile,” says Sunrise Chief Nursing Officer Kimberly Hatchel. “Rather than having to call the units individually, one alert summoned immediate help. Within two minutes, abundant help was headed to the ER. And when cellphone service was interrupted due to the volume of calls, iMobile kept staff in touch with each other. iMobile saved lives that night.”

Crisis reveals key messaging functionality

Sunrise was one of the first larger facilities to go live with iMobile, implementing the system in 2017. It was already making a big difference easing bottlenecks and reducing task times in the facility before the shooting demonstrated another major benefit.

“What’s beautiful about iMobile is that it has so many useful functions,” Hatchel says.

  • “If I know someone specific is on duty today, I can send a message to him or her, but
  • If I need to reach the charge nurse on the fifth floor and I’m not certain who that person is, I can still communicate because we log in not only by name but also using the job title or role we are performing at that point in time.”

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Sunrise has several hundred phones in use every day. In addition to the dedicated iMobile devices that remain onsite, the application also “lives” on desktop computers and on the personal phones of designated personnel. That means the entire team can communicate effectively, regardless of whether they are onsite or offsite.

“A post anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse may not have iMobile on his phone, for example, but it’s on the unit desktop,” Hatchel explains. “If he needs documentation on a patient, he can use it from there to send a message. That stops people from having to go to a desk, call another desk and hope they reach someone. Now we are communicating more efficiently with each other, providing more time for direct patient care.”

Rollout and evaluation

That’s exactly what iMobile was designed to do, and its early success has established a framework, not only for continued deployment but for discovering more applications that will help improve patient care.

“We brought 18 hospitals online in 2017, and now have 36 total,” says Annabaker Garber, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer. “We are finalizing how many will be rolled out during 2018 while documenting and capturing best practices so we can validate how iMobile affects operations.”

To accomplish this, iMobile is now evaluated using two primary criteria:

  1. How long it takes to place a patient in the hospital from the admission order in the ER, and
  2. The transfer time for getting patients to and from Radiology departments.

“For Admissions, some sites improved dramatically, shaving up to a half hour off their times,” Garber says. “In Radiology, iMobile made it easier to determine if a patient was ready for tests, and in turn provided significant improvement in turnaround times in 9 of 13 facilities measured — some with more than an hour.”

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Other tests included sending a broadcast message to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team for a high-risk birth, transforming that into one task rather than five phone calls. That action saved four minutes — and overall five hours for the whole process — while also decreasing frustration with communication issues.

Best practices will lead to better results

“We’ve identified 10 more workflows and will incorporate this information into a tool book,” Garber says. “Then, we can share this data with facilities new to iMobile so they can determine where the tool will have the most value for them. We will also take this back to existing sites and conduct refresher training to help them renew their commitment to iMobile while learning how to use it more effectively.”

For Hatchel, iMobile is a timesaver and also a challenge that the Sunrise staff is eager to embrace.

“You can access it anywhere,” she says. “You can make yourself available or not, so we know who’s on duty. We’re in our infancy using iMobile, but the more we find useful things it can do, the more we find ways to extend it to other caregivers. We are connecting the right people in a more direct way than we’ve ever been able to do before. For a large medical complex like ours, it is literally a lifesaver.”

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, located in Las Vegas, is an affiliate of HCA Healthcare. It is the closest hospital to the Las Vegas strip.