One of the areas within the healthcare industry that has fallen behind in old technology is communication. In our rapidly changing world, it's more important than ever to have a healthcare app that can keep up with the demands of modern life.
To address this gap, Hypercare created a mobile-first, communication app that allows healthcare professionals to connect, no matter where they are. The software offers a variety of features to help optimize patient care, including the ability to view colleagues' schedules, send secure messages, access on-call information, and trigger a cross-department escalation in emergencies.
In the second installment of our Making Impact Podcast series, ODAIA’s co-founder, Helen Kontozopoulos met with Albert Tai, CEO of Hypercare, to discuss how their software is helping create effective communication within an industry slow to adopt innovation.
Identifying pain points in the communication process for medical professionals
When Albert Tai first started in the healthcare industry, he was surprised to learn that some of the most educated people in the world rely on archaic technology, like pagers and fax machines. Timely communication is essential to providing high-quality care, however, the traditional paging system is often cumbersome and unreliable. Albert was able to see the positive impact of a closed loop communication system as providers often took matters into their own hands using consumer messaging platforms like WhatsApp and SMS to improve their workflow. The downside was that these consumer platforms were not compliant with healthcare regulations like HIPAA which could get the provider and hospital in trouble and also limited the workflow possible given that providers do not have all their colleagues’ phone numbers as well as the inability to know who is on-call. The usage was left to only internal department communication for the most part which failed to support the complexities as patients transitioned between different specialties within the hospital.
After interviewing numerous healthcare professionals about their experience with pagers, it was found that physicians often had to use a switchboard to contact their intended recipient. Pagers are like a black box; they’re hard to navigate, give little context to why someone may be contacting an individual, and ultimately, they’re a cost to productivity. Who suffers as a result? The patients. Some of the pain points that Hypercare aimed to tackle was ensuring privacy between colleagues, secure messaging, and giving context to messages that lacked information such as urgency status and who was attempting to contact them.
A change in rhetoric
Most people realize that the healthcare industry is reluctant to adopt innovation. As Albert puts it, “[healthcare is] slow to change. There's a lot of bureaucracy, there's a lot of regulations. And it's so unfortunate to see well-trained providers spending valuable time chasing one another down in a very archaic way.” That’s why it was important for Albert to acknowledge the people willing to take on the risk of integrating Hypercare while it was still developing its reputation in a risk-averse environment.
The first hospital to implement Hypercare was East York’s Michael Garron Hospital. There, physicians were able to use Hypercare to communicate across multiple departments, creating a fast transition in connection efficiency. An outpour of positive testimonials about the software led to internal anthimeria, with workers beginning to say “I’m going to Hypercare you.”
“We're in basically every single care setting except dental offices, we have nursing homes, long-term care or home care, palliative care teams, and mental health teams [using Hypercare] because everyone needs to solve communication. And a lot of the deployments we have are to connect smaller organizations that share the same patient roster as another organization, so we can discuss patients together,” Albert says.
“Miscommunication is the number one cause of preventable death in healthcare.”
The human life span has expanded, and a single patient can come with a myriad of conditions making it imperative for doctors treating an individual to be on the same page.
Another aspect of communication that Hypercare aims to tackle is urgency. “We realized a huge part of the workflow for hospitals is activating entire teams to respond to incidents like someone having a heart attack, a stroke, etc. The entire team needs to activate and come to the hospital ASAP. So we started solving a team activation problem with automatic escalation,” Albert says. This means that staff can automatically get in contact with the right individuals, even allowing priority messages to bypass the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode on devices.
So much of healthcare is reactionary, building information on the fly during time-sensitive matters. By establishing priority and activating teams in urgent situations, Hypercare can save lives.
The main goal of Hypercare is to create an operating system. Albert frames it this way: “the messaging platform is a platform for everything critical. And, I will note that [the word] critical is really important because there's a lot of noise. It's really important for us to make sure that's always the case on Hypercare because if you have too much noise, people are going to start ignoring things because everyone's busy.”
Saving time for overworked hospital staff has been the number one goal for Hypercare since its inception. Connecting healthcare colleagues in real-time has proved powerful in the realm of daily workflow. As the CEO and co-founder of Hypercare, Albert has made it his mission to change the way healthcare professionals communicate by developing a platform that is designed for the way they work.
This is the second installment of ODAIA’s Making Impact Podcast series, where we will go on to interview other thought leaders who are using cutting-edge technology to innovate in the life sciences. Listen to our previous episode with Liam Kaufman from Winterlight Labs to learn more about using speech-based biomarkers for detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s.