A Case Study in Delivering Digital Healthcare

Marcus Kääpä
Marcus Kääpä - Editor
Woman in video conference with doctor
  • Serving an international customer base, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) delivers customised technology experiences to fulfil its customers’ needs.
  • With ALE messaging software, mission-critical messages are sent with unique audio and unique tones, so staff know how to respond to even before they use the device.

We dive into the medical advancements between the Australian Capital Territory Health and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, a collaborative effort redefining Canberra’s healthcare space.

Healthcare institutions operate on the frontline of human safety and well-being, and so keeping up with and utilising the latest technological developments is critical to a positive patient experience, and an optimised healthcare system. 

Serving an international customer base, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) delivers customised technology experiences to fulfil its customers’ needs. Central to the company, ALE’s mission is to maximise connectivity by delivering digital-age networking, communications and cloud-based solutions with tailored services.  

ALE operates across multiple industries including the healthcare space, in which it provides healthcare information technology (IT) tools and solutions that deliver critical services and help optimise the all-important patient care pathway. It is the view of ALE that simplified, efficient and secure communications allow clinicians to better collaborate and spend more time with the people who matter most – their patients. This in turn results in better outcomes for patients, staff and communities on the whole. These innovations in healthcare IT enable ALE’s client care providers to deliver a revolutionary connected digital experience to their staff and patients. Digital transformation enables ubiquitous access to quality care for all, simplifying day-to-day operations through connectivity.

Digital Age Networking for Healthcare

In Australia, ALE has worked with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Health specifically for the Canberra Hospital on a critical messaging project focused on enabling critical alarms contextualised with location information to improve patient and staff safety. Through increasing the efficiency of communication and messaging, ALE’s messaging duress and location solution have helped create a safe environment in the hospital’s Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU).  

Canberra Hospital provides general and tertiary acute public healthcare to the ACT and the surrounding New South Wales (NSW) region in Australia. It is the largest of its kind in the area, providing care to more than 500,000 people. The public hospital delivers a range of services including acute inpatient and day services, outpatient services, women’s and children’s services, paediatrics and pathology, as well as the AMHU that is focused on providing a safe and supportive environment for patients with acute mental illness or disorder.  

It is no surprise that efficient messaging is critical to delivering safe care for patients; incidents that occur across the clinical space need to be responded to quickly. Prior to working alongside ALE, at ACT Health, smart devices were only operating as phones, and there was no emergency duress alarm that provided accurate geographic location, forcing personnel to juggle multiple devices when it was time to respond to a call. 

In the face of this practical issue, ACT Health required an open standards solution that could be easily integrated and interconnected across multiple locations within the existing infrastructure. The organisation works with Spectralink smart medical devices, which are medical devices certified and fit within the clinical stack around the delivery of critical alarms. This ALE solution provides messaging and duress alarms as well as location-based services, triggered by the alarm button on the Spectralink device. 

Where the traditional pager can distribute the relevant messaging, the technology incorporated by ACT Health at Canberra Hospital allowed the command centre to see when a call has been acknowledged and if personnel were responding. The location-based services implemented have resulted in faster response times, which are crucial in providing patients with the necessary care and ensuring staff safety. 

Together with ALE messaging software, mission-critical messages are sent with unique audio and unique tones, so staff are aware of whether it is an alarm code they need to respond to even before they take the device out of their pocket. After a successful proof of concept (POC), the solution was adopted for duress situations at Mental Health Ward 12 at Canberra Hospital. The alarm notifications management service app improved staff safety with duress/lone worker functions, as well as improved paging across the hospital.  

Peter O’Halloran, Chief Information Officer at ACT Health, commented: “Since we’ve moved to ALE… we’ve really seen it refine and get much easier, so clinicians now simply have one device to go to that can do everything they need.” 

The benefits presented are manifold; the integration between Spectralink smart medical devices (using an alarm button) and Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar IoT Bluetooth® Gateways and alarm notifications’ management service is enriched with location information. Consequently, location services led to cost and time savings, that are otherwise spent looking for staff, patients or equipment, with a single smart medical device resulting in reduced personal protective equipment (PPE) and ICT costs and equipment durability, meaning devices were not being replaced if they were accidentally dropped or damaged. Lastly, there were the user experience benefits, such as the tool helping to create a safer and more organised workspace, with the new technologies supporting improved facility and organisational workflows, as well as improved staff support, communication and collaboration, and of course, better patient care. 

In the words of Nicole Hill, Global Director of the Healthcare Sector at ALE: “The work we have undertaken with ACT Health underlines just how important it is that hospitals and other clinical settings are able to deploy care quickly and safely when an alarm is raised. The feedback we have had on this project highlighted improved patient outcomes and better organisational workflows, as well as cost benefits due to time saving, and the use of a single smart device. These advances in technology can genuinely assist in providing high-quality care delivery, and we look forward to working with more healthcare providers to implement similar systems.”

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