By Andrea Lebron - March 26, 2019
Denver Health and Hospital Authority improved its emergency notification system with a new solution, that also brought them into compliance with the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule. The new mass notification system also proved beneficial for internal communications and departmental messaging.
The Denver Health and Hospital Authority has been treating and healing the people of Denver for more than 150 years. Denver Health sees nearly 930,000 total patient visits annually and, in addition to its 525-bed main campus, the Authority manages thirty external health centers and urgent care centers throughout the city.
As a Medicare and Medicaid provider, Denver Health is required to comply with the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule. Under the Communications Plan core element of the Emergency Preparedness Rule, the Authority must have an effective notification system in place that alerts staff and other necessary persons when emergencies occur.
In the case of Denver Health, its database of staff and other necessary persons consists of approximately 3,700 contacts who are distributed throughout its managed properties. Not every one of them would need to be alerted to a localized incident. Indeed, it would only be necessary to send a system-wide alert in the event of a natural disaster, email server outage, or major engineering incident.
Consequently, any emergency notification system implemented to comply with the Emergency Preparedness Rule had to be capable of distinguishing groups of contacts by their role, location, or other attribute. As an additional requirement of the Authority, it also had to be capable of handling non-emergency internal communications and departmental messaging.
Prior to the implementation of their healthcare mass notification system, Denver Health did have a previous system, but the Authority received feedback that some staff were not receiving notifications. Tests conducted on the system not only confirmed the non-receipt of alerts, but also identified issues with dispatch delays and administrators struggling to send alerts due to the system's design.
The Authority evaluated a number of replacements and selected a new mass notification system due to its “reliability, sending rates, and administrative capabilities”. Logan Fuller, the Authority’s application analyst, commented: “Messages...went out quite a bit faster than the application we were using. The departments that received messages were impressed that it happened right away.”
Once selected, the implementation of the new system went very smoothly. The mass notification system was integrated with the Authority's directory database so the two systems synchronized automatically, and a hierarchy of role-based permissions was created. A user portal was also created so the Authority's contacts could set their message preferences and add additional information.
Contacts on the database were sorted into groups, and administrators were able to create messaging templates to accelerate departmental messaging. Not only did the new mass notification system enable Denver Health to become compliant with the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule by improving its Emergency Notification System, it also help the Authority better communicate internally.
Andrea is Rave's Director of Digital Marketing, a master brainstormer and avid coffee drinker. Andrea joined Rave in August 2017, after 10 years of proposal and corporate marketing at an environmental engineering firm. You'll find her working with her amazing team in writing and producing blogs like this one, improving your journey to and through our website, and serving you up the best email content. When she's not in front of a keyboard, she's chasing after her three daughters or indulging in her husband's latest recipe. Andrea has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing/Management from Northeastern University and an MBA from Curry College.
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