COVID Series: Communication with Dr. Ben Kanter CMIO of Vocera

With

Bill Russell / Ben Kanter, MD

#ThisWeekinHealthIT we sit down with Dr. Ben Kanter the CMIO of Vocera Communications to discuss how hands-free technology is improving safety during a time of a pandemic.
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May 22, 2020: On today’s episode, we discuss healthcare communications with Dr. Ben Kanter, a pulmonologist by training and CMIO for Vocera communications. As Ben mentions in our conversation, healthcare practitioners are working in a time when it’s dangerous to even pick up a hospital phone. While patients, nurses, and doctors need to minimize their exposure to infection, communication has never been so important. How can doctors communicate with their patients and with each other while avoiding contact and wearing PPE? Ben answers questions like this while addressing other communication challenges faced in the healthcare industry. He also details some of the innovative communication solutions that are being implemented in hospitals. But, as Ben reveals, increasing the means in which healthcare workers can communicate often leads to an interruption in healthcare services. Ben discusses how integrated and monitored communication systems and policies are as important as new hand-free methods of communicating. Finally, Ben shares his communications best-practices along with his predictions about the future of healthcare communications. Don’t miss this episode — after this pandemic, healthcare communication will never be the same again!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The communication challenges that derive from healthcare workers wearing PPE.
  • Why caregivers shouldn’t risk contamination to be able to communicate.
  • How difficult it is for healthcare workers to correctly remove PPE.
  • For Ben, the key is to minimize using PPE and being able to talk without removing PPE. 
  • How communication has changed due to the need for PPE through the entire system.
  • Why communication within healthcare teams is as important as ever.
  • This pandemic will result in an evolution of communications and hands-free PPE technology.
  • Ben predicts the importance of voice-driven interfaces and actions in the future.
  • How the communication environment has become more complicated, not simpler.
  • The need for policies to govern communications.
  • Vocera’s ability to streamline communication among healthcare workers.
  • Why some communications systems affect healthcare and lead to sentinel events. 
  • The importance of developing proper communication backchannels. 
  • Why communications systems should be monitored before they’re implemented.
  • Ben’s advice; use a nurse as a go-between and set up an alarm management committee.
  • Ben discusses advances due to the crises — telemedicine is here to stay.
  • There’s been an increased acknowledgment of the dangers faced by healthcare workers.