How HPHA uses Hypercare to improve communication across a 4-hospital system

Paging systems can be effectively replaced with a virtual solution

Improve communication across a large geographical area

Centralizing a process in a 4-hospital system

CATEGORY
FEATURES USED
Secure messaging, on-call scheduling, pager replacement
WHAT THE CUSTOMERS SAY

"In my opinion the implementation of Hypercare was very successful both from an end user aspect and a technology aspect.It was very successful in achieving our initial objectives such as replacing a failing pager system and replacing an antiquated inefficient system for physicians on call"

- Dr. Bob Davis
IT Physician Lead, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance

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About HPHA

Huron Perth Health Alliance (HPHA) is a multi-site healthcare system consisting of four hospitals: Clinton Public Hospital, St. Marys Memorial Hospital, Seaforth Community Hospital and Stratford General Hospital. It employs over 1,100 staff to provide exceptional care through a range of acute and community-based services.

Before Hypercare

Communication in healthcare is vital, even more so when providers and services are spread out over a large geographical area and across multiple facilities. Prior to Hypercare, the hospitals each had their own physician on-call communication flows powered largely by pagers. Scheduling was fragmented, with each clinical department in each hospital submitting paper schedules to the switchboard, which consolidates and compiles the information into master on-call lists. Each switchboard then forwarded that information to Stratford General Hospital’s switchboard, which acts as the central switchboard at night. Due to this criss-crossing workflow, this resulted in a lot of extra manual work and potential for error. This fragmentation led to long times on hold, frustrating games of phone tag, and some critical missed pages that had direct negative consequences on patient care.

“Pagers are old technology and aren’t being fully supported anymore,” said Dr. Tom Haffner, an internal medicine specialist and physician champion for the Hypercare project. “We were running into issues with reception and missing pages frequently because of dead zones in the hospital. Medicine is probably one of the last vestiges of pager use, so it was really out of necessity that we began looking for a new solution.”

The need to change

There was recognition that something needed to be done to improve this process. The spark that lit the fire to search for an alternative came as HPHA was informed that their pager contracts were all expiring, and would not be renewed because the carriers were getting out of the pager business altogether.

HPHA tried multiple platforms prior to Hypercare and could not find a solution that wove together all the critical elements for care collaboration. There were simple pager replacement apps, but those only sent one-way messages and did not do anything to solve the fragmentation. We tried using Instant messaging apps, but they were not intuitive for healthcare providers and their workflows. Most importantly, these applications did not help facilitate connecting the right people at the right time, which resulted in erroneous and missed messages.

Then HPHA explored Hypercare and its offerings, and saw value with how seamlessly the different functions of the app meshed together with real clinical workflows. Hypercare’s experience with managing cross-organizational communication and true integrated community care gave the HPHA team solid options for improving overall provider-to-provider communication. 


Deploying Hypercare

With support from senior leadership, HPHA embarked on a phased rollout approach. They originally planned for a 30 day pilot with their general internal medicine service at Stratford General Hospital to see what the response would be and to plan next steps. The response was immediate and clear. “It was so popular we didn’t even wait for 30 days,” says Dr. Robert Davis, Physician Technology Lead of HPHA. 

They took the ‘big bang’ approach, opening signup on day one to all staff. However they also opted to use a soft touch, letting users and departments adopt Hypercare at their own pace. HPHA focused on physician users first, creating promotional materials and sending electronic communications to them to encourage usage.

Results

The positive feedback from HPHA users was clear. The providers took to the application immediately and saw the value it brought to their patient care. Demand for Hypercare onboarding was high, with the amount of eager end users quickly outstripping available licenses. 

[anecdotes about improvements]

Total  Messages sent since the organization was created (May 1, 2020-September 12, 2022): 281,358

Total Priority Messages: 2454

Total Priority Images: 13

Total Active Users : 283

Total Regular Images: 1607 

Single Chats: 279,747

Group Chats: 1418

Waiting on switchboard volume: will reach out again tomorrow

Future directions

Modernizing communication within and between the hospital sites was just the beginning. As the region is moving towards a large integrated community care model, reaching out to community partners and organizations will be key to patient care. The scalability of Hypercare can easily allow organizations of all sizes to improve communication with Hypercare, truly enabling the free flow of information that is necessary for integrated care.

Within the hospitals, HPHA have looked into ways Hypercare can be the glue that holds the myriad of systems and processes together. Such examples include formalizing a verbal order verification system through Hypercare to reduce the likelihood of medication errors. Building more templated messages will allow for smoother and more structured communication and more in-depth reporting for quality assurance.

"We were able to completely eliminate pagers and at the same time accommodate physicians who wished to remain with their original method of communication by cell phone.”

- Dr. Bob Davis
IT Physician Lead, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance