Effective and timely organisation of a Major Incident (Majax) is a key challenge for any NHS Trust. Multitone’s i-Message has been implemented at a large UK hospital to help the Trust leverage its Majax resources. The Trust now has a highly reliable, automated messaging system that reassures the management team that first responders have received details of the emergency event, without the need for manual intervention from either the recipients or originators.
Efficient, effective and timely organisation of a Major Incident (Majax) is a key challenge for any NHS Trust, but the use of a dedicated unified messaging system, such as Multitone’s i-Message solution, will ensure teams and resources are managed to their full potential.
Multitone’s i-Message has been implemented at a large UK hospital to help the Trust leverage its Majax resources, exactly when they are most needed. The solution offers a number of advantages including: improving operational efficiency and responsiveness, provision of unified messaging (to ensure full contact options over a secure platform), reliable easing of the operational workflow and consolidation of the communications network to reduce overall costs.
Before employing Multitone’s i-Message, the hospital used a labour-intensive messaging process to mobilise its Majax teams.
This included the need for at least three operators to be on duty to action a wide-area paging call, sent over two secure networks, as well as a third unsecured SMS network to maximise outreach. Without proof-of-delivery or read-receipt acknowledgement, operators also needed to make voice calls to each member of the Majax team to confirm delivery of the paging call or SMS, ensuring awareness of the situation and confirming availability.
With a contact list of between 170 and 600 team members (depending on the event), and potentially several numbers to try for each individual, this proved to be a time-consuming and inefficient process. Two operators would call the team members, with the third handling incoming calls from the public, internal enquirers and members of the Majax team responding to acknowledge their attendance.
Inevitably, the fluid nature of Majax events can also require updates to be issued. These range from additional details, to changes in the type of event, through to an all clear / stand down. The manual nature of the system made it vulnerable to human error, which raised operational concerts and highlighted the need for an alternative automated solution.
The hospital team identified several deliverables that the solution needed to provide.
This included an IP-based unified messaging system that could deliver a Majax message to a team of up to 600 people, with the press of a single button. The messaging solution also needed to support SMS, on-site paging and smart device applications, along with proof of delivery.
Following a competitive evaluation process, the hospital management team chose the Multitone messaging solution as it was the only one to not only address the Majax communications wish-list, but also to exceed it by offering additional benefits.
i-Message provides full Proof of Delivery reports (including automatic read receipts), using the powerful @ppear smart app. Additionally, there is support for users of standard non-smartphone devices, with the ability for these team members to respond using standard SMS to update live boards. This reduces the operational impact on the switchboard, especially at times of reduced staffing levels, such as night time or weekends.
To illustrate the state of Majax messaging and responses, the Multitone solution also features an Interactive live-board. This presents a graphical representation for each recipient, with the icon changing colour to indicate message delivery, automatic read receipts and manual acknowledgement for ‘attending’ or ‘not attending’.
Options also include the ability to target non- responders in critical groups, through an automated escalation process, without having to worry about which device to contact. This allows the manager to concentrate upon the overall needs of the incident rather than manually responding individual events.
The Trust now has a highly reliable, automated Majax messaging system that reassures the management team that first responders have received details of the emergency event, without the need for manual intervention from either the recipients or originators.
i-Message reduces a process that took hours, down to minutes. It also delivers a complete auditability for risk mitigation and post event diagnostics, ensuring each Majax event aids the planning for future needs. The solution is a key contributor to the Trust’s overall Communications Strategy.
The development and continued evolution of Multitone’s i-Message has been closely aligned to the medical sector it serves. By collaborating and innovating the solution through feedback from the Trusts it assists, many of the evolving features within @ppear and i-Message have been suggested by the professionals that use if for real emergency situations.