Virginia Hospital Center Delivers Better Patient Experience with Solutions from Kontakt.io & Phunware

31 August 2021

"Think of it as your digital front door to Virginia Hospital Center (VHC). With the new VHC App, you can access anything you need—anytime, anywhere right from your mobile device." - Virginia Hospital Center

With each passing day, more hospitals are recognizing the power of The Internet of Things (IoT). IOT Magazine reported that IoT is "poised to disrupt the Healthcare Industry through intelligently connected devices, systems, and things that are used by billions of people." But IoT success does not magically unfold on its own. It requires expert guidance, a customized plan, and a commitment to achieving IoT excellence. Below is a success story detailing how Virginia Hospital Center leveraged the IoT to improve the patient experience and operational efficiency.

Virginia Hospital Center: Seeking a Five-Star Patient Experience

Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) is an award-winning 437-bed teaching hospital located in Arlington, Virginia. When VHC's executive team embarked upon their journey to IoT excellence, the hospital was already a leader in many respects. In addition to being named a CMS 5-Star Hospital and a Leapfrog Top Teaching Hospital, VHC was honored as an Arlington Chamber of Commerce 2020 Best Business. 

VHC's impressive track record is reflective of their executive team's commitment to carrying out their vision "To Be The Best Health System." VCA's laser-focused Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, Michael Mistretta, recognized the impact a world-class IoT solution could have on the patient experience and operational efficiency. In keeping with VHC's vision, Mistretta enlisted the expertise of Phunware & Kontakt.io to develop a customized IoT solution for VHC. 

Understanding VHC's Vision and Service

Before diving into the creation of an IoT solution, Kontakt.io and Phunware wanted to understand exactly what motivated Mistretta and his team to pursue a customized IoT plan for VHC. The hospital's motivation is evidenced by its multifaceted vision, which focuses on delivering the highest quality of clinical care and achieving the highest level of patient satisfaction. VHC also outlines three other goals that are critical to their mission of being the best health system:

  • "To provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment."
  • "To innovate in the use of information technology."
  • "To manage our resources prudently."

In addition to considering VHC's vision, Kontakt.io and Phunware reviewed VHC's Anchors of Service to gain insight into their everyday operations. Of particular importance is the hospital's goal to, "Act With Efficiency and Timeliness in All That We Do." With this information in mind, Phunware and Kontakt.io began customizing an innovative, state-of-the art mobile healthcare solution that would boost efficiency and utilization management.

The Project Goal: Delivery of a Digital Front Door at VHC

With a keen understanding of VHC's barriers to IoT excellence, Phunware developed a customized mobile solution with Kontakt.io BLE technology for VHC. The ultimate goal was the creation of a "Digital Front Door" that organizes VHC's primary services into one simple and cohesive mobile app. Here is a look at some of the key services featured in the app:

  • Indoor Wayfinding: This app feature helps patients navigate the maze of modern medical complexes like VHC. Patients are able to quickly access the simplest and most direct route within VHC. Additionally, they are guided to the parking garage closest to their appointment and receive step-by-step directions to any location on VHC's campus. This enables them to easily find elevators, restrooms, and the outpatient pharmacy. 
  • Mobile Appointment Scheduling: The ability to easily schedule appointments through remote telehealth services helps VHC improve compliance with follow-up procedures and visits. VHC's new mobile solution facilitates scheduling with existing and new VHC doctors, and patients can use it for in-person for telehealth visits. The end results include improved patient outcomes and fewer missed appointments. 
  • MyChart Integrations: Centralizing all healthcare information in a single location saves time and boosts efficiency for VHC staff. Patients also appreciate the ability to quickly view all their upcoming appointments, medical bills, and price estimates from VHC and other healthcare facilities.
  • Laboratory Results Viewing: Rapid access to lab tests helps to keep the treatment process moving forward. More importantly, real-time access to test results can expedite diagnosis and treatment, potentially having a positive impact on patient care outcomes.
  • Messaging Capabilities: Patients now have the ability to message their doctors with questions and requests for appointment changes. This feature is invaluable, as it facilitates communication between patients and their healthcare providers. 
  • Medication Management: With the new VHC App, patients can easily see all their medications. They can also request a medication refill with just a few clicks, which helps improve compliance with prescribed medications. 
  • Bill Payment: By providing patients with a convenient way to view and pay their medical bills, VHC can improve their receivables and shorten collection cycles. On the flip side, patients no longer have to depend on paper invoices or availability of a billing specialist to confirm and remit required payments.

Project Implementation and Execution

Kontakt.io and Phunware took every step to ensure seamless implementation and execution of their solution. Implementation was carefully coordinated in advance with VHC administration to ensure the following: 

  • Minimal interruption to patient care and workflow
  • Consideration of VHC's budget and resources
  • Compatibility with existing hardware and tools

Additionally, they worked with VHC to make sure rollout proceeded as smoothly as possible. Project leaders designed versions in English and Spanish to cater to metropolitan D.C.'s increasingly diverse population. Finally, they made sure that the app is FREE to patients and is as simple and user-friendly as possible. Using the VHC App with your favorite smartphone is as easy as 1-2-3:

  • Step One: Go to the Apple Store or Google Play
  • Step Two: Search for "VHC"
  • Step Three: Click "Download" and follow the simple instructions

Future Directions for Virginia Hospital Center

VHC's investment in their operations delivered results that produced immediate benefits to patients and staff alike. But IoT advancements do not occur in a vacuum. Continuous quality improvement is a must in order to maintain a superb patient experience. 

The future of IoT at VHC will involve regular review and monitoring of the collection of tools put in place by Kontakt.io and Phunware. VHC can continue to leverage their initial investment and address key roadmap items outlined in their strategic vision. Through this process, VHC will continue to carry out their mission to be the best health system. 

Putting Your Hospital on the Path to Excellence 

A first-class IoT experience at your hospital is not something that is achieved overnight. The process requires time, dedication, and the guidance of an industry expert. By enlisting the services of a proven IoT specialist, you can help ensure you enjoy a handsome return on your investment. 

To learn more about VHC's journey to excellence, we invite you to sign up for our on-demand webinar. Registration is free, takes less than 60 seconds and is the perfect first step to helping you understand how IoT solutions from Phunware & Kontakt.io can help your hospital achieve its goals. 

Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]