By Tawny M. Dotson (Madigan Healthcare System)November 15, 2010
Beginning Oct. 1, Madigan Healthcare System has a new contract for a mass notification system which will be implemented to push emergency and official messages to all employees through phone and e-mail.
Madigan's system has been named E-notify and is anticipated to be running by the end of November. It will be used in emergencies such as inclement weather and a recall. Madigan will appoint system administrators and managers who will activate contact through E-notify when necessary. The first set of transmissions will be developed using a tool called message mapping until the team can develop further policies regarding use of the system. Message mapping uses a set of organized statements, or messages, that address likely questions and concerns in an emergency.
"Madigan's E-notify is not a silver bullet answer to all communications issues," said Bill Llewellyn, emergency management coordinator at Madigan. "It is one of a series of systems to get information out."
The team who chose the mass notification system intended to select one that would contact the most people quickly and efficiently. E-notify is capable of storing up to eight notification devices for each employee and can make 5,000 phone calls in a 15-minute period using both voice and text messages to reach employees. Once a registered user is contacted the system will ensure no further messages are sent to their devices. Customizable reports are available to show who was contacted and through what method so accountability will be available. It also has the capability for polling each employee. In fact, according to Llewellyn, the recall rosters could be completely replaced.
"Theoretically there won't be a need to create a telephone tree anymore. Instead we will be able to use the E-notify system," said Llewellyn. "Also it won't be a requirement for everyone in the unit to have your contact information. Yes supervisors and managers will, but it won't be distributed across the unit in a phone tree anymore."
The new notification structure will push information out to employees and meet time requirements for recall compliance. In the future Madigan could use E-notify for new idea such as official requirements and training.
"When we looked into this contract we really looked at how we can incorporate this system into our daily lives," said Llewellyn.
The contract allows Madigan unlimited usage and a large number of managers which allows for centralized control and decentralized execution. The service-based software meets all requirements for the DoD and Army Medical Command. Rosters are protected at all levels to ensure that the personal information is protected.
"The system uses a 164-bit secure socket layer, a username and password at the individual level and increased security at the transfer level," said Llewellyn.
A team at Madigan has researched mass notification systems for more than three years in order to ensure the right provider was selected. Llewellyn has spoken with a number of Army units using a similar system and will mirror what a number of them are doing to implement E-notify at Madigan.