Cornwall Ontario – Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) has recently acquired new mobile devices to assist with communications within its complex healthcare environment. As many healthcare workers will attest to, it is difficult to find devices that meet the stringent infection control standards for today’s environment, especially when it comes to mobile devices. The hospital seized an opportunity to exploit new applications developed for the hospital workforce which required modern communication tools such as email alerts to various clinical and support staff. It was evident at the beginning of the planning process that a smart phone-type of device was required; a tablet or laptop proved to be too large to be convenient for staff, not to mention, these devices lacked the ability to meet infection control guidelines.
Nancy-Ann Bush, Manager Infection Prevention and Control commented: “From an Infection Prevention and Control perspective the use of electronic devices in the hospital environment is a challenge. Most of these devices cannot be disinfected with hospital grade disinfectants and sustain damage to internal systems from excessive fluid. This ‘smartphone’ with its waterproof feature will allow cleaning and rinsing with soap and water. As always, hand hygiene is the most important factor in the prevention of transmission of microorganisms and all devices should be approached with clean hands!”
It was then determined that in order to leverage the hospital’s sophisticated 300MB switched Wi-Fi network, a small portable device with email and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) clients would be ideal. The SIP client would essentially allow the hospital to add the devices as extensions to the hospital’s phone system, allowing them to make calls free of charge.
Mario Alibrando, Director of Information Technology stated: “We are pleased to have found the perfect device that meets our current needs.” The Sony Xperia GO is an unlocked phone sold by Sony Canada which includes features such as an IP67 rating, meaning it is completely protected against ingress of dust and is water resistant in up to 1 meter of water, immersed for 30 minutes. The phone comes equipped with Android 4.0, and with a Sony integrated software package which includes a built-in SIP client. It is sold completely unlocked, meaning that a SIM card or monthly plan through a service provider is not required to operate the device.
The hospital has since implemented the technology that will be utilized for clinical and support staff, including the hospital’s Medication Reconciliation program. When particular conditions are met within the HIS Electronic Bed Management software, automated emails will be sent to clinical and support staff. For example, when an isolation cleaning for a patient room is required and entered in the Bed Management system, an automatic email will be sent to mobile support staff via their Sony Xperia GO phones. This allows for an expeditious turnaround of the patient room that can be measured by the timestamp within the email. The Sony Xperia GO can then be washed under a tap to remove any residual infectious material that may adhere to it.
Jeanette Despatie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is excited about this advancement of technology in the hospital. “As a recognized Eastern Counties leader in the provision of exceptional health services, CCH is proud to be the first hospital in Ontario to institute these phones in the workplace.” She added, “We are always striving to make new improvements in our community hospital while keeping in mind that patient safety is at the forefront of all that we do. The fact that these devices are impervious to water damage and can be cleaned between uses will lessen the chance of spreading infection.”
Perhaps it was designed for the clumsy individual who may drop it in water or expose it to an unusual amount of dust, but it complements the healthcare environment very well. Having these modern devices at their fingertips is sure to simplify some of the complexities in staff members’ everyday tasks.