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Why BlackBerry Technology Deletes Grand River Hospital’s Patient Data Every 48-Hours

NEWS / 03.28.19 / Sara Jost RN

Communication is one of the most daunting challenges facing modern hospitals. How can physicians, clinicians, and general staff efficiently coordinate with one another without putting Protected Health Information (PHI) at risk? It’s clear that the traditional way of doing things simply does not work.

Reliance on older hospital communication methods like facility PA systems and pagers leads to frequent miscommunication and inefficiency. In an industry where a few seconds can be the difference between life and death, that can prove catastrophic. A survey carried out by the Joint Commission estimated that close to 70% of Sentinel Events – incidents which result in patient death – could be directly traced to a breakdown in communications.

As one of Ontario’s largest community hospitals – and one for which innovation is a core part of its strategic agenda -  Grand River Hospital (GRH) understood well the need for better communication.

“Phone calls are difficult for physicians, because they’re everywhere in the hospital, and constantly moving from place to place,” explains Sylvia Carney, Manager of Information Privacy and Access at GRH. “Connecting with physicians in a timely fashion is challenging, and every second counts. We needed to provide an efficient alternative that would also ensure GRH employees were always in compliance when discussing its patients”

 Dr. Darren Knibutat, GRH’s Chief of Radiology noted, “Everyone has a smartphone. The concern when Protected Health Information is being discussed is if those discussions are secure and protected.”

Additionally, many clerical staff members still relied on desktop computers. GRH quickly realized it needed a secure platform that would not only minimize the time lost in communications, but also connect both mobile and desktop users. Most importantly, this platform needed to be easy to use – physicians could not afford to waste time fumbling with an app while on call.

To meet these needs, GRH chose to partner with BlackBerry for a custom rollout of BBM Enterprise. Already a long-time BlackBerry customer, GRH has a large presence of BlackBerry devices in-use within its walls, in addition to managing its mobile fleet through BlackBerry UEM.  This pre-existing relationship was not the sole factor that drove its decision, however.

GRH wished to position itself at the forefront of secure communications solutions in healthcare, creating an efficient, organization-wide communications network. For this reason, BBM Enterprise’s group chat was a critical feature for GRH, allowing physicians and hospital staff to be arranged into groups based on their role. This makes it easy for users to connect with experts the moment they need them.

Group chat was not the only draw.

Messages sent through GRH’s deployment of BBM Enterprise only persist for 48 hours, ensuring PHI won’t ever reside on a physician or clinician’s device. GRH’s installation of BBM Enterprise also restricts certain features such as cut and paste and on-device photo storage – functions which ran counter to what GRH wished to achieve and weren’t necessary for staff using the platform.

Since finalizing its deployment, GRH’s care providers are able to communicate in real-time about patient status, leading to enhanced workflows and better patient outcomes.

“With BBM Enterprise, we’re all on the same page,” explains Dr. Knibutat. “It’s not just physicians talking to physicians. BBM Enterprise allows our physicians to connect with technologists and clerical staff quickly and securely. It completed the communications circle throughout the group.”

“Now with BBM Enterprise, everyone can work together to improve process flows and ultimately improve patient care,” he concludes.

To learn more about how Grand River Hospital is using BBM Enterprise, read the full case study. If you’re interested in reading more about the inroads BlackBerry has been making in healthcare, check out our blog post on how BlackBerry Workspaces is helping the Melanoma Institute of AustraliaOlympus’s deployment of BlackBerry Workspaces, our partnership with MedRegis, or our New Zealand deployment of BlackBerry UEM. Finally, you can click here to learn more about BBM Enterprise.

Sara Jost RN

About Sara Jost RN

Sara Joined BlackBerry in 2010 and is the Global Healthcare Industry Lead responsible for healthcare strategy, business development, marketing and sales programs. She has over 14 years of healthcare experience, including Neuroscience Researcher specializing in stroke and migraine at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. She was also a High Risk Labour and Delivery Registered Nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, ON. Sara worked for Healthanywhere, a mHealth start-up, starting and managing 13 mHealth programs across North America and in the UK. Sara has a BScH in Life Sciences from Queen’s University and a BS in Nursing from University of Toronto.