The Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) in Finland has become the first hospital in the world to adopt a smartphone technology specially designed for mission-critical communications within a healthcare setting. The technology, called the “Ascom Myco,” has been introduced by the KUH in its neonatal intensive care unit.

KUH recently adopted a new “family care” room model wherein the infants are taken care of in private family rooms. In such rooms, the parents of the infant can stay overnight along with their child.

However, the hospital soon realized that the new model had increased the alarm notification response times. Since the newborns were located across different private rooms, the nurses actually have to walk up to the monitor to consult the alert notification.

“Solving this issue was problematic,” said the project manager at KUH, Juhani Kouri. “We couldn’t have alert notifications sounding all over the unit, as newborns are particularly sensitive to sound stimulus."

"Preventing such disturbances can result in significant benefits, as it may help avoid lifelong medical conditions for the newborn. So we really needed a smarter way to manage alarm notifications and nurse calls if we were to adopt the new care model," Kouri added.

To help eliminate the problem with the sound of the alert notifications and to reduce the response time, the hospital decided to adapt to Ascom Myco. The smartphones are connected to the hospital's patient monitoring system, and also have staff-duty assignment software called Ascom Unite Assign. According to the hospital's press release, the installation of the system across the neonatal intensive care unit is contributing to “safer, more efficient care for mothers and newborns.”

With the help of the Ascom Myco smartphone, the nurse is able to see the alert, its urgency and the name of the patient concerned on the device itself. In case the nurse is unable to respond to the alarm, it is transferred to a backup nurse. The alert is sent to the nurses responsible for a specific newborn instead of all the nurses across the department, thus preventing any source of confusion.