Spectralink, an enterprise mobile communications provider based in Colorado, aims to enhance patient care, clinician productivity, and workflow efficiency for hospitals worldwide with purpose-built clinical communications solutions. The company provides specialty-built smartphones for healthcare staff. Their devices have been designed with the healthcare environment, and its unique challenges and requirements, in mind. Spectralink claims that the devices provide superior voice quality, proven durability, and secure, compliant data access.
The smartphones are designed for easy integration with existing hospital networks and allow staff to have ready access to patient records and real-time alarms at the point of care. The devices also provide instant alerts and notifications when patients require assistance, enabling nurses and other clinicians to respond more quickly. Spectalink aims for rugged design and resiliency in their devices. The phones are designed to withstand repeated drops and contact with liquids and harsh sterilizers.
See a promo video below for a Spectralink phone.
Medgadget asked Spectralink’s VP of Product Management and Technology Solutions, Andrew Duncan some questions about their systems.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please tell us a little about how Spectralink became interested in specialized communications solutions for healthcare workers.
Andrew Duncan, Spectralink: Our commitment to the healthcare industry is rooted in our company’s core mission to provide the best possible enterprise mobile experience for our customers. We’ve been both a top provider and a leading innovator of caregiver communication solutions for more than 25 years. The experience from working collaboratively with our customers over that time helps us provide the best purpose-built mobile devices that empower clinicians to put patients at the center of care.
Today, our mobile solutions are helping thousands of hospitals and healthcare providers elevate care and outcomes by improving communication, collaboration and workflow efficiency. Through our ongoing partnership with our healthcare customers we were able to identify a growing need in the market for more than just a voice-centric device. We took the opportunity to leverage our expertise in mobile communications and designed a smartphone that integrates with healthcare applications and provides solutions that benefit the clinicians across the healthcare industry. In 2011, we launched PIVOT, our first mobile smartphone. And in March of 2018, we announced the Versity Smartphone, our next generation device that improves critical collaboration tools, best-in-class Wi-Fi quality and durability—all with a consumer smartphone look and feel our users prefer.
Medgadget: What specific challenges does the healthcare environment pose for a communications device?
Andrew Duncan: The healthcare environment is complex, chaotic and always on. It’s also driven by critical timelines that can have life-or-death consequences, making it imperative that clinicians have a wireless phone with both 24/7 reliability and superior voice quality. Features such as noise suppression, echo cancellation and seamless Wi-Fi coverage are essential to ensure that clinicians can easily hear and communicate with their care team members, regardless of their location in the hospital.
Making sure phones are designed to easily integrate into existing clinician workflows is another important consideration. Nurses and other healthcare professionals need devices that save them time and make their jobs easier, not more complicated. In short, they need devices that work the way they do, not the other way around. Adding features like a scanner to the smartphone enable workflows like easily accessing patient records.
Durability is another challenge for healthcare communication devices. Being able to stand up to drops, bumps, falls into water and cleaning with harsh chemicals is critical. Hospital sanitizers required to clean phones and keep infectious bacteria at bay ruin typical consumer-grade phones. Day-to-day hazards such as dropping phones in water or hard surfaces while caring for patients destroy lesser devices.
Maintaining high up-time can also be a challenge, so hot swappable, replaceable batteries are required. Finally, collaboration is vital to meeting the needs of the patient. A communication tool that also enables workflow improvements of a hospital, integrating with a diverse collection of hospital systems such as nurse call and patient monitoring into a comprehensive solution is imperative.
Medgadget: Why are effective mobile communication solutions important in modern healthcare?
Andrew Duncan: Modern healthcare is a team effort that requires constant communication and collaboration across the continuum of care. Effective mobile communication solutions not only provide continuous connectivity, they also ensure that clinicians and providers have ready access to the most up-to-date patient data and treatment requirements right at the point of care. Mobile solutions also enhance caregiver responsiveness and efficiency by enabling the integration of multiple, disparate communication and alert systems such as traditional nurse call, patient, and equipment monitoring. Integrated systems help reduce alarm fatigue among clinicians while improving communication security and patient and staff safety. By empowering caregivers to communicate more effectively and stay better connected and informed, our mobile communication solutions contribute to better patient care, satisfaction and outcomes.
Medgadget: What advantages do the Spectralink phones offer over a conventional smartphone, specifically in the context of healthcare?
Andrew Duncan: Our mobile phones offer several important advantages over conventional smartphones, starting with the simple fact that they are purpose-built for the healthcare environment. That means they are specifically designed to provide the uptime, durability, and voice quality that are essential for effective and reliable clinical communications and collaboration. For example, our solution delivers proven, best-in-class Wi-Fi voice quality and coverage, which minimizes dropped calls while providing clear and consistent conversations. Another advantage is the durability of our devices for this high-demand environment. They are drop-tested, waterproof, and built with special materials proven to stand up to the harsh chemicals used to clean hospital surfaces. Plus, features such as our hot-swappable batteries deliver increased uptime, so our phones stay on the job 24×7 to support your staff needs.
Most importantly, our Versity clinical smartphone delivers all these advantages while also meeting user demands for a sleek, lightweight device that is both easy to carry and use. Simply put, Spectralink provides a win-win option for both IT and clinicians by combining enterprise-grade capabilities with consumer-style design. We deliver it all as part of a total solution that has been certified with leading healthcare application partners and integrators.
Medgadget: Obviously, patient data is highly sensitive. How do the phones ensure data security?
Andrew Duncan: Our new industry-leading clinical smartphone is embedded with today’s most advanced and proven security features, including support for data encryption and application user authentication, to thoroughly protect patient data and ensure complete compliance with industry regulations. By using industry standards for our security, we’re able to provide interoperability among various hospital systems without compromising data security or integrity.
We also implement our solutions in a way that prevents patient data from being stored directly on a device. All patient information is maintained on secure, premise-based servers or in the cloud, so that devices are only used to view and share data. Other applications like secure messaging are protected because they are contained on the hospitals closed network. Optional passcodes can also be enabled on our devices and EMM’s can be leveraged to further secure the devices.
Medgadget: How do the phones help healthcare staff to monitor patients? Can staff access patient information, such as vital signs, on the move?
Andrew Duncan: We work with the industry’s largest ecosystem of application and integration solution partners and offer an open, Android platform in addition to a special Spectralink API set for custom app development—two critical factors that enable seamless integration with multiple hospital systems including nurse call, patient monitoring, laboratory, EHR platforms, and more. As a result, clinicians access all critical information, alarms and alerts right from their smartphone without needing to coordinate multiple communication systems. They can even monitor patient telemetry data and talk directly with patients in their rooms via pillow speakers, contributing to better patient satisfaction and staff productivity. Providing a single, unified communications solution that integrates voice, messaging and video, and applications we’re able to help hospitals measurably increase care team collaboration and responsiveness.