Currently, if a nurse needs to speak to a doctor about a patient, a string of communications ensues between a desk clerk, a communication bunker and finally the physician.
"It's a painful process for everyone involved," said Hana Pika, chief information officer and vice-president of information technology at the Heart Institute.
The request for proposals, posted on the procurement site Merx and closing on May 4, asks for a hand-held device for nurses containing a centralized directory of physicians.
The hospital has set aside an undisclosed sum of money for the contract that will likely last three years, Ms. Pika said, and will include 150 concurrent user licenses and 100 Wi-Fi devices. The hospital is looking for one vendor that can carry out the project from start to finish, she added.
Because of strict budget limitations, core requirements will be put in place first with the potential to expand if any money remains. Add-ons could include an on-call schedule for physicians to alert nurses daily as to who is immediately available, and the ability for nurses to have a different communication protocol than doctors - nurses tend to prefer phoning while doctors often text, Ms. Pika said.
"We're trying to fix a very immediate problem, however as we've gone out and spoken with stakeholders, there's really the ability to expand it to other areas," she said. "So many people have said, ‘If I could be in real-time communication with everyone, that would be great.'"
Future contract additions could include systems for dietitians, pharmacists and anyone else working within the hospital.
The technology will ideally be implemented later this year, Ms. Pika said, with at least the core functionality installed by Christmas.