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3/2/2010
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Avaya Expands UC For Healthcare

The new unified communications systems include a nurse-call system for hospital patients and a tool for administrators.

Avaya has introduced new and enhanced unified communications technology to improve patient care and make healthcare processes more efficient.

The communications systems maker unveiled the new products Monday at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Atlanta. The new systems are meant to improve a number of healthcare operations, ranging from patient care in hospitals to the emergency department admittance process.

Among the four products demonstrated at the HIMSS conference was a new version of the company's mobile device checkout system that makes it easier to reach individual staff members during their shifts. This is accomplished by having a staff member swipe the bar codes on their phone and ID badge at the beginning of a shift, which registers the phone with a unique phone number.

With numbers registered to specific people, they can be more easily reached. In addition, built-in RFID technology in the phones lets hospital staff track associates by viewing a hospital map on a computer screen.

Other new products include a nurse-call system that enables a patient to push a button to directly reach an attending nurse, instead of the nurse station. As a result, the system cuts the amount of time nurses spend walking and increases the amount of time spent with patients, according to Avaya.

Avaya also introduced what it calls a "patient admit coordinator" system that can use voice, e-mail, or instant messaging to notify key departments involved in admitting a patient from the emergency department. The system moves each stage forward on approval and coordinates the steps in getting patients from the ER into the hospital, according to the vendor.

Finally, Avaya unveiled an automated system that calls patients to remind them of appointments and get a confirmation that the patients will attend. Patients are given the option to reach a live agent for rescheduling.

The device checkout system is available this week. The nurse calling and patient appointment reminder systems are scheduled to be available in June and the patient admittance coordinator in July.

Avaya's unified communications offerings in general got a big boost last year with the acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Solutions. The purchase particularly benefited the company's existing Aura UC portfolio.

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