VNS Health Enhances Safety and Preparedness Across the Organization With AlertMedia
- ContinuityAllows the organization to maintain vital operations and service patients remotely, even in the wake of disruptive events.
- SafetyProactively keeps a geographically dispersed workforce safe, informed, and up-to-date during threats and emergencies.
- Peace of MindGives leaders and staff reassurance that critical, time-sensitive messages will be sent and received immediately.
- ReadinessEnsures the organization is prepared to effectively communicate and respond to any emergency that may arise.
- LocationsGreater New York City Area
- ProductsEmergency Communication Software, Global Threat Intelligence, Safety Monitoring, Desktop Alerts
- Primary UsesEmergency, Business Continuity, Operations, Inclement Weather
VNS Health Ensures Business Continuity While Protecting Employee Well-being and Safety
As the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based healthcare organization in the U.S., VNS Health has nearly 40,000 patients and health plan members in its care on any given day. For more than a century, the organization has focused on providing cost-effective and compassionate care, services, and programs to countless people in need—enabling patients to live safely in their homes and communities.
At VNS Health, ensuring the well-being of patients and clients is contingent on running a smooth and steady operation—and a critical part of that involves rapidly addressing any threats or hazards that may pose a risk to employees’ personal safety. Recognizing that it needed a better way to identify and alert employees to emerging threats—whether natural, technological, human-made or otherwise—VNS Health turned to AlertMedia. Today, VNS Health relies on AlertMedia’s emergency communication solution with enhanced threat monitoring and notification capabilities to ensure business continuity and provide peace of mind in even the most critical of situations.
Facing Increased Threats and Employee Demands, VNS Health Shifts Its Emergency Preparedness Mindset
With more than 13,000 employees—including home health aides, nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists—VNS Health serves patients across the state of New York. Historically during emergencies, VNS Health would communicate with its dispersed workforce through email, phone calls, and conference calls. Or, in the event of a power or network outage, management would use text messaging and even two-way radios to reach and inform employees.
Then came COVID-19, a worldwide increase in cyberattacks, civil unrest, extreme weather, and severe storms. Over the course of just two years, a surge in catastrophic international and local events prompted VNS Health to revisit its approach to emergency preparedness.
“Some emergencies that began keeping us up at night were things we used to look at as ‘not going to happen’ or ‘probably won’t happen’—events that have increasingly occurred in recent years and affected VNS Health’s ability to conduct business,” says Lauren Campbell, VNS Health’s Director of Emergency Preparedness.
Employees began voicing a need to receive urgent information faster during a crisis. Moreover, leadership wanted a more efficient method for engaging staff regarding specific tasks during emergencies.
“There are a lot of people across our organization who could help expedite our response efforts in an emergency but without a clear process at the time, it was difficult to educate them on their role in the moment. In many cases, we wouldn’t figure these things out until we were deep into an event,” says Campbell.
As such, VNS Health began its search for an organizational-wide emergency communication solution that would enable a more effective means of detecting potential threats and communicating with staff in real time.
Easy-to-Use Emergency Communication Solution Motivates Quick Organizational Adoption
Ultimately, VNS Health selected AlertMedia for its emergency communication and threat intelligence capabilities—greatly enhancing the organization’s ability to not only communicate with employees during critical events, but also monitor and detect potential threats.
In its search for a solution, VNS Health was especially impressed by AlertMedia’s ease of use, as well as the company’s dedicated customer service support and consultative approach.
“When you’re relying on an emergency communication tool, you need to ensure it’s simple to learn,” says Campbell. “As soon as we saw the AlertMedia demo, we knew our staff would have no problem using it during times of need. AlertMedia carefully walked us through the system so we fully understood it before buying it—and then they gave us the tools and knowledge to train our own staff. This enabled us to enjoy a smooth transition when we implemented the solution.”
“If I used just a few words to describe my experience with the AlertMedia support team, they would be: phenomenal, friendly, committed, and approachable.”
“If I used just a few words to describe my experience with the AlertMedia support team, they would be: phenomenal, friendly, committed, and approachable,” Campbell adds.
Today, VNS Health uses AlertMedia to communicate via multiple channels—including text, email, phone calls, desktop alerts, and more—with targeted groups of employees during critical incidents. The organization also uses AlertMedia’s threat intelligence and safety monitoring features to identify and continually assess potential risks for employees who work remotely.
“Our remote workers are spread out geographically. Because there could be an event that affects several large groups of employees within New York state, or one that affects a small group in surrounding states, we needed a way to quickly identify events happening across various locations,” says Campbell. “AlertMedia allows us to visualize all our employees within a certain radius of an incident, monitor whether it’s becoming an increasingly unsafe situation, and then send instant notifications out to those specific staff members.”
From COVID-19 to Hurricane Season, VNS Health Enhances Communications To Enable Greater Peace of Mind
AlertMedia enables VNS Health to keep employees safe, informed, and connected during any critical event that may arise. For example, when Tropical Storms Henri and Ida hit New York in mid-2021, VNS Health was able to leverage AlertMedia’s integrated threat monitoring and communication capabilities in a number of ways.
“The storms hit us so quickly, and there were some employees living or working right in the storms’ paths,” says Campbell. “We used AlertMedia to first send a large-scale notification to all employees, then keep affected employees updated on the storm paths, and even perform safety checks on specific employees. AlertMedia provided a level of reassurance and comfort to everyone.”
“We used AlertMedia to first send a large-scale notification to all employees, then keep affected employees updated on the storm paths, and even perform safety checks on specific employees.”
More recently, VNS Health used the AlertMedia solution to send mass notifications to select employees regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates and deadlines. “We’ve identified special groups who require vaccination and use AlertMedia to keep them informed in a timely manner as health information changes,” says Campbell. “It’s especially valuable that we can track and confirm that each individual successfully received each message. That was a big reason we decided to choose AlertMedia.”
The organization has also implemented AlertMedia’s desktop alerts—a feature that essentially takes over computer screens, requiring users to acknowledge they read an alert before they can access anything else from their workstation.
“A lot of times, you hear about businesses where individuals on-site may threaten or cause harm to operations. Especially with more employees returning to our many regional offices after the pandemic, we wanted to have something in place that could quickly alert staff if they needed to evacuate the premises,” says Campbell. “We know that if anything like that were ever to occur, having AlertMedia in place will enable us to increase the visibility of our emergency messaging while also enhancing safety for our employees.”
A Sense of Calm, No Matter the “Storm”
According to Campbell, including AlertMedia in VNS Health emergency preparedness efforts has significantly enhanced the organization’s ability to assess risk, respond to incidents, and plan for any future incidents—leading to greater peace of mind throughout the organization.
“AlertMedia brings everyone a sense of calm. When we know what’s happening around us and have plans in place, we can initiate specific steps to minimize or prevent any negative impact on staff, as well as our operations and patients,” says Campbell.
“While emergency preparedness has always been in VNS Health’s DNA, AlertMedia has allowed us to respond to incidents affecting employee safety in a much more nimble, agile, and immediate way. This significantly improves our way of operating and ensures greater business continuity, now and into the future.”