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Boston Children’s Hospital streamlines communication with CareAware Connect™

by Boston Children's Hospital

Published on 8/12/2020

In 2019, teams at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) and Cerner worked together to implement CareAware Connect and Connect Nursing using Cerner's newest, cloud-deployed model. These solutions facilitate care team communications and coordination across the continuum of care. Connect Nursing enables mobile workflows for non-prescriber roles by facilitating nurse review, as well as medication administration through native barcode capabilities of smartphone devices.

BCH teams placed more than 600,000 calls and texts in the first 30 days1, and leaders remain focused on using communication tools to support clinician efficacy and satisfaction at the 411-bed pediatric organization.

Going live

Over 10 months, the CareAware Connect platform and related toolsets went live in three phases.

This phased approach allowed time for the project team to collect critical feedback from users to tailor the design of both the CareAware Connect directory and the CareAware Care Team Assignments tool to ensure they met user requirements and would achieve the broad adoption necessary to be successful.

Adoption

As hoped, this approach and solution mix resulted in high adoption across roles and job functions, flattening the landscape and barriers to communication.

“For patient safety reasons, I like that I can not only call the providers directly, but also text them,” said Josephine Lorusson Schizas, RN. “With previous phones, if I couldn’t get to the doctor, we had to call the operator and have them paged, which delayed patient care.”

Upon house-wide deployment, BCH became one of Cerner’s largest adopters of CareAware Connect, with more than 4,000 active users placing more than 240,000 texts in the first 30 days of use. That significantly exceeded BCH’s legacy secure messaging solution, which averaged approximately 117,000 monthly text messages from about 1,080 users.2

“We’ve pushed a modern tool into the hands of our clinicians that has become a core part of the Boston Children’s culture,” said Jonathan Bickel, MD, MS, senior director, BCH Clinical Health Record, Business Intelligence, and Boston Children’s Medical Library and Archives. “We’ve not only increased the communication between our staff, but rapidly iterating and deploying several innovations that helped us address COVID-19.”

Additionally, Connect Nursing brought greater mobility and flexibility to the bar code medication administration (BCMA) process. Two of the largest patient care areas — emergency department and post-surgical unit — are using the Connect BCMA process for most of their medication administration events.

Nurses in those patient care areas say a mobile workflow that doesn’t require the use of a workstation on wheels supports safe and highly reliable medication administration.

“I can’t say enough about BCMA,” said Lynnetta Akins-Crichlow, MSN, RN-BC, director, clinical education and informatics. “It’s increased accessibility to nursing workflows, and we have the ability to change the way the scanning sequence is being designed in the mobile device.”

Engagement and feedback

Connect Messenger helps provide staff with swift communication between one another.

“What I appreciate about Connect Messenger is in my hands, because I can look up staff and find a contact number. I feel like when we get used to this messaging more, communicating concrete information quickly without making frequent calls or interrupting bedside care will be the next benefit,” said Lorinda McMorran, RN.

“One of the reasons we were so successful was the adoption coaches. Those blue-shirted individuals who helped us for three weeks were amazing,” said Bickel. “They covered us almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week and allowed us to fully drive adoption.”

Future projects include bringing specimen collections and Bridge Breast Milk Management scanning onto the suite. In the fight against COVID-19, there are more capabilities for BCH’s staff to potentially use.

“With Bluetooth, we can start to think about performing contact tracing using devices to record interactions with other personnel and their devices on a given floor,” said Bickel. “Enabling Bluetooth for people who use personal protective equipment has been an ideal side benefit, because you can use the device without having to touch anything. This implemented platform has been serendipitous and quite useful.”

Some data for this story was pulled utilizing the Cerner Lights On Network® solution.

1 From Oct. 17, 2019 – Nov. 16, 2019

2 From a four-month sample, provided for November 2018 – February 2019

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.