Canberra Hospital has implemented a rapid rollout of Spectralink Versity smartphones in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These handsets facilitate cohesive communication, streamlined workflows, and faster ingress and egress to COVID-19 areas and other isolation zones in the hospital. These form part of the overall deployment of 2,000 Spectralink Versity across the Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra Hospital announced last year.

The Spectralink Versity smartphone devices are purpose-built for the rugged requirements of the healthcare environment. ACT Health has rolled out the Spectralink Versity devices for two key purposes: to minimise the risk of coronavirus cross-contamination and infection in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Canberra Hospital by using a device that can be cleaned thoroughly and is designed for clinical environments; and to streamline the workflows of ward staff.

The Spectralink Versity devices, unlike consumer devices, can reduce the risk of cross-contamination and infection because they are designed to withstand hospital-grade cleaning agents. This means the handsets can be thoroughly cleaned between each use, eliminating bacteria and viruses that may have otherwise remained on the device. Because the devices can be so reliably cleaned, patients can also use them to communicate with relatives that aren’t able to visit them due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

In intensive care units, nurses who need to enter the clean zone may take up to 25 minutes to don the personal protective equipment required. To provide a high level of care, it is important to reduce the requirements for nurses to exit and re-enter the clean zone.

Rebecca Heland, chief nursing and midwifery information officer, ACT Health, said, “Each nurse carries a Spectralink Versity smartphone, connecting them to their colleagues and the outside world without creating a contamination risk. Staff members have access to the apps they need to work effectively and efficiently at their fingertips whilst wearing gloves without the need to continuously change the PPE required.”

ACT Health introduced the devices to reduce the complexity caused by having multiple communication platforms. While some units used intercoms, others used two-way radios and some staff members used pagers, which meant they needed to find a wall phone every time they received a page. There was no enterprise-wide communication platform, nor was there a unified fleet of devices that could be easily managed.

Rebecca Heland said, “It was important to have devices that could meet infection control standards. The Spectralink Versity phones offer this capability and, because we have a fleet of devices with interchangeable batteries and charging stations, this has made managing the devices day-to-day very simple. The devices themselves are intuitive and easy to use, which reduces the need for busy staff members to have to learn how to use another device.”

The Spectralink Versity devices are also making life easier for ward staff with an app that manages their tasks, eliminating the need for them to return to a home base each time they complete a task. This avoids wasted time and effort and helps them stay productive and efficient.

Peter O’Halloran, chief information officer, ACT Health, said, “ACT Health implemented an app to streamline workflows for wards persons. Using the app on their Spectralink Versity device, staff members are enabled to work more efficiently and reduce the amount of unnecessary walking they have to do in an already busy day. While the wards persons currently carry additional devices such as pagers, in time, these will be phased out and they will be able to carry just the one, lightweight, durable, cleanable device.”

The Spectralink Versity smartphones are shared devices. Staff members check out a device at the start of each shift. They use their ID badge to log onto the device, which automatically accesses the apps required for that person. At the end of their shift, they simply hand the device back in. This keeps the devices in constant rotation, maximising ACT Health’s return on investment. If a device is left somewhere in the hospital, it will require a new login for anyone to use it, maintaining strong security.

Ilan Rubin, managing director, Wavelink, said, “Providing purpose-built communications solutions to healthcare organisations is a key focus for Wavelink. The Spectralink Versity devices are ideal to enable ACT Health for quick and fast response to challenges posed by COVID-19 by having a healthcare specific device. Providing a fleet of devices simplifies management for ACT Health and helps deliver a strong return on investment. Wavelink is proud to work with NTT to provide these devices and support to ACT Health.”

With the fleet of 2,000 Spectralink Versity smartphones, ACT Health can deliver the many benefits of a Connected Health platform across their team.