Major US Hospital Cuts Emergency Room Wait Times with Orion Voice Bots and Onyx
A large public hospital system has an ongoing organization-wide initiative to identify process improvements and streamline workflows. As part of that initiative, they recently discovered that they were inadvertently creating excessively long wait times for emergency department visits.
Hospital staff and first responders had to follow a long chain of steps to alert hospital staff of incoming patients and relied on a complex combination of radios, phone calls, pagers, and an overhead intercom system.
Routing patients to the right team required five steps and multiple hospital personnel to get involved. First, the paramedic at the emergency scene would radio to the city’s fire dispatch center, which then placed a phone call to a hospital operator. The operator dialed the triage nurse at the emergency department, which then paged the right hospital team for treating the patient’s condition. Eventually, the treatment team prepared space and supplies for the patient.
This chain of communication took three to five minutes for every incoming patient. The hospital system fields over hundreds of thousands of emergency visits per year, leading to thousands of hours of wasted time. Plus, the complicated process unnecessarily overworked the staff and under-served the patients.
Fortunately, the hospital system’s lean process improvement program empowers its employees to suggest ways to make hospitals run more efficiently. One hospital’s trauma surgeons, passionate about improving quality of care, observed an opportunity to save everyone time and proactively sought a more sophisticated solution, ultimately finding the Orion voice platform and Onyx smart wearables.
Upon discovering how Orion could streamline communications and improve workflow, the hospital system’s Chief Information Officer and Chief Medical Officer decided to move ahead with implementing Orion, using Onyx devices for the emergency department of one of its hospitals.
The hospital equipped paramedics, trauma teams, and the emergency department’s triage nurse with Onyx, Orion’s lightweight voice badge. Onyx enabled paramedics to speak directly with the triage nurse instead of going through the city’s fire dispatch center and the hospital operator. Also, the triage nurse could alert the right trauma team by real-time voice instead of a phone call or pager alert.
Hospital management decided to use more Orion push-to-talk services: they added an Orion Voice Bot. Some hospital staff needed to keep using their pagers, so the team activated one of Orion’s healthcare Voice Bots to transcribe patient alerts into pager alerts. This automation enabled staff to continue using familiar tools while adding Orion voice bot superpowers. The Voice Bot also sends messages to the hospital archives, creating records for later assessment.
Upon rolling out Orion at one hospital, the benefits were immediately apparent. Instead of going through an onerous multi-step process, paramedics can now communicate with hospital staff using just the push of a button on their Onyx devices.
The new process saved time. Previously, the process took up to five minutes per patient; with Orion, referring a patient now takes only two minute. Just one of the system’s hospitals serves 100,000 emergency visitors every year, meaning Orion has helped them save thousands of hours of work for staff.
As a result, emergency department doctors have more time to consult with their team and prepare a specific treatment plan for each patient they see, and triage nurses juggle fewer calls and messages. Implementing Orion Voice Bots and Onyx devices has led to less time spent on logistics and resources, fewer errors, and more time spent with patients. Now, the system’s medical teams don’t need to waste time waiting for critical information and can focus on the essential task of caring for people.