Reducing intra-hospital telephone communication time using app technology (2020)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Hamid M.

BMJ Leader. Conference: Leaders in Healthcare Conference 2020. Virtual. 4(Supplement 1) (pp A42), 2020. Date of Publication: November 2020.

Background Lengthy switchboard waiting times result in delayed communication between healthcare professionals in a hospital. Wasted time impedes patient care, costs the Trust a substantial financial sum and impacts healthcare professional's morale. Aim(s): To reduce intra-hospital telecommunication time utilising the Induction phone application, an easy to use, regularly updated telephone directory. Method(s): Initial audit: Five chosen specialities were contacted between 9-10 AM from the Emergency department for 2 consecutive weeks. The time taken to reach each speciality via switchboard was recorded. A survey seeking the number of calls made per day, the preferred method of contact and the feelings associated with telephone waiting times was sent to department doctors. PDSA cycle 1: One-month application advertisement and re-audit. PDSA2: Eye-catching tele-directory board with the most used extensions and bleeps displayed in the department. Satisfaction survey sent post PDSA2. Sustainability: New doctors were provided induction information. Result(s): Initial average waiting time via switchboard was 48 seconds. The average calls made per doctor each day was 12. This calculated to a total departmental loss of 20.16 hours per week waiting on the phone, equating an annual loss of 26, 208. PDSA1: Average waiting times reduced to 12 seconds utilising the application; saving an estimate ~19,656 per annum. PDSA2: Instant availability of contact details on the display board further reduced waiting times to an average 6 seconds. 84% of doctors (n=16) disliked waiting more than 20 seconds, with associated feelings of frustration. 100% preferred the display board, then the use of the application before resorting to switchboard. 100% Sustainability was recorded one year later. Conclusion(s): The use of application technology reduces wasted time which hampers patient care; reduces Trust running costs; and improves health care professional's morale at work.

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