By now there are at least two generations of college students who are familiar with emergency text messaging and desktop alerting, and they have relied on it to guide them in emergency situations. Increasingly, hospitals are taking advantage of the same technology to share critical announcements and communicate information internally.
Adding visual textual notification devices in key locations like hallways and operating theaters can provide near-instant visual displays of messages generated by emergency communication providers. Staff, visitors and patients can take direction from these high-visibility LED displays to assist with orderly evacuations, provide severe weather alerts, and notify when services may not be available.
"In an emergency, patients' well-being hangs in the balance."
High stakes for emergency hospital communication
Hospitals are high-pressure environments by their very nature, with or without an emergency. Staff are trained to be calm under pressure, transparent and able to respond to urgent needs - and the emergency alerting system in place must be just as reliable. When a situation develops that might affect hospital activities, everyone must be on the same page at once. Patients' well-being may hang in the balance.
For example, each staff member should be prepared if an incoming storm might limit care or services so they can adjust accordingly. LED displays placed in key areas through the facility can help communicate that warning to doctors, nurses and other workers without disrupting ongoing activities. Meanwhile, text or desktop notifications spread information to those who aren't within sight of the LED signs. Moreover, the best of these notifications systems provide automated controls and the ability to manage specific groups for messaging that only applies to them and not the entire hospital.
All of this means hospitals can provide better care for their patients, which is the ultimate goal. While universities and other campus-based organizations have largely embraced this new wave of emergency communication platforms, the argument for adoption is perhaps even stronger for hospitals.
What should hospitals look for in emergency communication?
Emergency notifications are nothing new, but developments in the industry mean hospitals should be aware of what's now available. Given their unique needs and circumstances, hospitals should be on the lookout for a system that includes the following:
- LED displays: A great display board provides simple, clear and coherent instructions, prominently placed for everyone to see. These LED displays go beyond emergencies, though, by communicating information like weather, time, or HR messaging.
- Efficiency: Many hospitals now hold themselves to energy efficiency standards, so emergency alert systems should run as low-energy as possible. Ideally, the platform can run off battery backup, in the event of a power outage, so they don't use generator capacity required to keep medical equipment operating.
- Zoning: Not all emergency messaging applies to the entire hospital - and not all day-to-day messaging is the same for each area. By specifying which messages go to individual departments or groups, hospital administrators can create a more efficient emergency response protocol and provide more pertinent information all around.
- Versatility: In some emergencies, time is crucial - the faster the notification goes out, the better. In that case, it helps to have pre-recorded, automated messaging options. On the other hand, some situations require a more nuanced approach. The best emergency displays allow the user to run messages ad hoc or en masse depending on the need.
- Encryption: Hospitals have been the target of numerous data breaches in recent years, so many have rightly responded by upping their network data encryption. As a result, the emergency response system must be able to function within those parameters.
Hospitals are beginning to realize that old emergency communication platforms aren't just inefficient and outdated, they could be dangerous. When a critical situations emerges, they need their response to be efficient, timely and decisive. The best LED emergency notification solutions provide that functionality.