Tara MahoneyOctober 12, 2017

Avaya Healthcare Solutions: Three Insights About Patient-Centered Care

Over three years ago I had a terrible skiing accident. I broke my hip at the femoral head and the force of the fall caused extensive tissue damage. I went to a rural hospital in Quebec, and was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital where emergency surgery was performed. Chronic pain and rehab followed. A year later a second surgery was performed as my hardware started to detach. Finally, it was confirmed that the bone was dying. I had a total hip replacement a year ago. I will never be the same, but I skied last season, I just signed up for my first triathlon, I am at peace. Throughout this journey, I have found purpose in my work as never before. I truly understand the need for patient-centered care and this crystalized in my discussions with health systems about Avaya healthcare solutions:

    • Patient access to services is critical. Patients must have access to condition-appropriate resources. In my case, there was significant time lapse between transfers, which impacted my ability to see resources that affected outcome (an example: I waited four hours for an ambulance transfer to Ottawa, for a surgery where success decreased with time). We must streamline communications among referring physicians—accepting institutions, transportation, and admissions. (It took two months to schedule hardware removal for a 10-minute procedure that caused inflammation to the point of immobility.) To increase access, we must reduce wait times by reducing no-shows, not-ready shows, and re-admissions. To ensure optimal access to services, we must enable continual communication (often via automation) with patients and the wider care team.
    • A care team must be integrated and centered on patient wellness. This is a culture change as much as a technology discussion. Too often, it is not easy for a physician to have a discussion with a care team—common pagers and voicemail are insufficient. In my experience, physicians had few tools that let them review my record—they could not click a button and see my holistic care team and collaborate with them. I suspect my surgeon has never spoken to my physiotherapist, my scar treatment therapist, my back specialist, my PCP….
    • We must get specific on outcomes and use cases if we are to leverage new technology. My husband walked into my room one night at the hospital and apparently (morphine-induced days) I was discussing with the nurse Avaya’s mobility solutions. I vaguely remember, and have since qualified orthopedic nursing requests:
      • Having easy access to ancillary services like physiotherapists, pharmacists, radiology, dietary
      • Having a streamlined discharge processes
      • Having alerting and nurse calls that support a “silent hospital”

If technologists are to position solutions they must work with providers and patients to be specific on how solutions impact workflow. We must show the care team the art of the possible and take real business feedback.

I admire my care team and I am appreciative for the ongoing care I receive and the IT and support organizations that make care better every day. Improvements can be made in patient-centered care, but every provider I’ve interacted with cared about my outcome. This caring is what will drive patient-centered care forward. I am grateful for my experience. I am grateful for my career.

Tara Mahoney

Tara has experience consulting with health systems globally, developing best practices and use cases leveraging communications technologies. She helps define and deliver solutions for patients, providers and payers including: mobile care team coordination and collaboration, digital channel patient access to services, virtual care solutions. She gets her energy from working closely with the Healthcare Administrators, Frontline Practitioners and IT Leadership defining requirements, delivering design and working closely with users through to implementation.

Read Articles by Tara Mahoney


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