Advances in modern technology continue to improve how we interact with each other and the world around us. We continue to see the development of better ways to complete both individual and organizational tasks faster and more efficiently with new or upgraded technologies.
As old concepts take new shape, antiquated systems and products are replaced with more advanced versions. Moreover, many new technologies that were originally designed for one application are beginning to cross over into new areas. Following suit, security technologies offer several new options and capabilities that go beyond the typical uses in traditional applications.
Integrators who embrace the chance to extend security technology into new applications and approach new business opportunities with an open mind will position themselves as cutting-edge solutions providers. Bringing together two technologies to complete a robust, full-service solution that offers more than just security for the end user is not only possible, but also becoming increasingly desired. An example is mass notification systems (MNSs).
An MNS’s primary objective is to disseminate one-way communication to individuals or groups of individuals in the event of an emergency. These solutions provide the fastest way to deliver a message to the masses when a crisis situation arises. However, with advancements in software technology and successful systems integration, MNSs have taken on a much broader scope of functionality.
In addition to having the ability to send an intelligible audio broadcast to an enabled security communication device, new MNS technology is making it possible for organizations to establish two-way communication to improve both internal and external operational processes. As well, recent changes made to the NFPA 72 2010 make it possible for emergency communication systems to broadcast informational messages.
Three delivery models for an MNS platform are available, including hosted software, on-premise or a hybrid of the two. While all three models make it easy to send thousands of notifications through text messages, E-mails, landline phones, pagers, fax and BlackBerry Messenger, the future looks especially bright for the cloud-based version that is available as a software as a service (SaaS). The hosted application is available offsite where users can gain instant access to send alerts from a mobile or Web app through real-time connectivity to the Internet. The hosted platform requires no hardware or software installation.
The new MNS technology is empowering corporations, educational institutions and government agencies with new ways to use their existing communication tools beyond typical security functions. Let’s explore some of the creative ways notification platforms are helping organizations across a wide range of industries boost efficiency and improve operational functions.
Enhanced Communications Is Improving Patient Care
A recent study shows that the need for improved security among hospitals is on the rise. According to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS), 98% of health-care facilities experience violence and criminal incidences. With long hours of operation, a large number of buildings to manage and a rising vulnerability to criminal activity, these organizations face unique challenges when it comes to security.
At the same time, while the need for improved security solutions among health-care facilities becomes increasingly critical, communication within these organizations is also an area with room for improvement. At first glance, these two problems might appear to be unrelated. However, new MNS software technology can help with both.
While an MNS platform allows hospitals to quickly send both emergency messages and general announcements to patients and staff through any security communication device on campus, they are also integrating the software into their communication systems to help manage staffing changes, generate revenue, use time more efficiently and improve the quality of patient care.
The mission statement behind every health-care organization uniquely defines the group’s visions for providing the best possible patient care. In the case of one hospital, the absence of an MNS made managing the ratio of staff to patients a time-consuming and inefficient task. The process forced nurses to leave their patients for extended periods of time. For example, when a nurse called in sick to work, it became the job of another nurse to begin the task of manually telephoning others to look for substitutes.
After the installation of notification software, a multidepartment meeting helped the staff members come up with creative ways to use the technology to streamline many day-to-day processes. Because the software now allows the nurses to send an alert to several people on a variety of communication devices, the problem of finding substitute nurses is quickly resolved. Everyone receives the message at the same time and has an equal opportunity to respond.
The same hospital is also using the MNS software to increase annual revenue. In the event of an accident, the ability to quickly pull surgical teams together for emergency operations is made possible with an MNS platform. If the hospital needs to reach surgeons specializing in different areas, one quick alert delivered by SMS, E-mail or phone call can make the difference in gaining the needed team members or missing out on an opportunity. The team members can respond with a quick message notifying the right people when they will arrive.
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