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Improve Patient Care & Experience

Case Studies

Virtua Healthcare System


New Jersey, USA

Virtua is the largest healthcare system in southern New Jersey, a fast-growing organization with more than 8,400 employees, operating four hospitals, two nursing homes, two ambulatory-care centers, a home healthcare agency and 19 physician-services sites. Technology plays an important role at Virtua, and IT is viewed as the fundamental enabler of service capabilities. “An organization can have the best strategy, the best processes, the best people,” says Ninfa Saunders, Virtua's President and Chief Operation Officer. “But if they do not communicate and convert data into information for greater utility, nothing happens.”

To support its mission and growth, Virtua partnered with NEC to help enhance and integrate its voice and data infrastructures for quicker access to information, improved clinician communication and enhanced patient care. Virtua sought a partner whose Unified Communications (UC) solution could be integrated with data technologies and with nearly every aspect of Virtua's buildings, back-office functions and healthcare delivery involving technology, the partner would need to be capable of implementing a large-scale project with minimal disruption to Virtua's normal, 24/7 operations.

Alfred Campanella, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, and his team worked closely with a project manager from NEC to coordinate every step of the process as NEC designed a robust unified communications system and integrated it into Virtua's IT infrastructure. “NEC understands the mission of healthcare and our unique needs,” says Campanella. “The people they brought to the table throughout the planning and implementation processes obviously understood what is important to us and were able to adapt to our particular needs.”

Virtua's NEC UNIVERGE SV8500 Communications Server, wireless infrastructure, and NEC UNIVERGE Unified Communications for Enterprise form an integrated environment that supports more effective and safe patient care by providing patient data in real-time, while improving communication and collaboration. As Ninfa Saunders puts it: “We now have accurate, accessible and interoperative data for clinicians at the right time and place for the right patient.” Virtua's physicians and nurses can now receive voice messages via email using wireless phones, and nurses can check lab results instantly via wireless phone before administering medication. “If a nurse is at the bedside and needs to check the patient's lab results before administering medication, they can immediately access the information on their wireless phone,” says Kelly Beach, nursing director at Virtua's hospital in Voorhees. “There is no wait – everything is at the nurses' fingertips, so it closes the loop for patient care.”

Centre Hospitalier de Mouscron



The Centre Hospitalier de Mouscron is a large healthcare facility in Belgium with almost 1,000 staff, 100 of whom are specialist medical consultants. When Mouscron added a new building and decided to upgrade all its communications systems, it chose the solution suggested by NEC – a new communications server able to serve the whole hospital and also unify its alarm systems. The server runs NEC's all-in-one Unified Communication solution that optimizes communications and collaboration using DECT phones, including the M155 Messenger watch. Mouscron already owned DECT phones, but because it couldn't use them for alarm messages, staff also had to carry beepers. The new system sends alerts to DECT phones and M155 watches, so beepers are no longer needed. In the new unified alarm system, staff can now also send detailed messages to each other, and one handy mobile device serves all their needs.

Mouscron was so impressed with the centralized alarm server that it decided to use a similar innovative security system in the psychiatry ward. All psychiatric nurses now wear an NEC M155 Messenger wristwatch, and in an emergency, one press of a button automatically sends an alarm to summon help. The watch is also a hands-free DECT, which gives the psychiatric nurses a much greater sense of safety as well as convenience.

Like most hospitals, Mouscron has a complex variety of alarm systems. These range from nursing or medical alerts, to fire and smoke alarms, and other alarm systems for technical and operational equipment such as air conditioning. In the past these alarm signals were sent to beepers and the various alarms were managed separately. Now, everything is integrated, resulting in far greater security.

Mouscron also wanted a more efficient call accounting and invoicing method for patient phone calls. The new communication server is now linked to their accounting software, making it easy to automatically keep track of patients' phone calls. When a patient is discharged, the telephone invoice is printed off with just the press of a button. This frees up several hours per week on the reception desk – time that receptionists can now spend on other tasks. At the same time, patient satisfaction is greatly increased since phone numbers are assigned to patients and not to rooms, so friends and relatives outside the hospital can use the same contact number throughout the patient's stay, even when the patient is moved from room to room.

*DECT: Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications