Top 6 TETRA functions for healthcare

Published: 30 Jan 2017

Caring for desperately sick or injured people is the definition of mission critical. In situations where every second counts, healthcare professionals need quick, reliable communications. Read on to discover how TETRA radio communication meets this need with six top functions.

Medical professionals understand the concept of mission critical. They often encounter life or death scenarios and have to make instant decisions – taking an extra second could be the difference between life and death.

TETRA can make that difference. Here we look at six of the best TETRA functions that help health professionals make best use of their time.

1.  Talk group: In a talk group, when one person speaks, all the group’s members hear what they say. For example, all nurses on a night shift could be one talk group. They can quickly ask the others for backup. Patients can be handled more quickly when radiology and ER can talk together in a group.

2.  Alerting: When trauma, angio and resuscitation teams each have their own talk group, the whole team can be alerted more quickly. Rather than call each trauma team member separately, the Trauma Alarm talk group informs everyone at once. As soon as the alarm is raised, team members can start preparing. Continued communication in the group gives people an excellent picture of how the situation is changing.

3.  Unit Alert: Everyone listed as receiving a Unit Alert will get it at once - even devices in silent mode will sound it. A person on call can mute the TETRA radio for routine traffic and be sure that the critical calls will still come through. Unit Alerts are easy to send from one radio to another, or to a group, while a special application can also be used to send them.

4.  Individual call and direct call: Most TETRA communication is in groups, but one-to-one calls are also possible. Calling someone on a TETRA radio is just like making a phone call. A direct call is the quickest way to tell one person something – just find them in the contacts list on the radio and press PTT. When you speak, the person will hear you – they don’t have to “pick up the phone”. A one-to-one call is convenient when the issue only concerns one person. It’s a good way to ask for a doctor’s consultation or reserve a resource when things are not urgent.

5.  Emergency call and emergency status: A TETRA radio has a special red key for making an emergency call. Usually, this starts a call to the emergency group, but the radio can be configured to send a message instead. The emergency call can also go to a certain TETRA radio or to a dispatcher. In hospitals, emergency calls are usually routed to hospital security. They know the buildings and the area and can get there quickly.

6.  Messaging: TETRA radios can also convey text and status messages. Staff can receive a task by written message and then acknowledge or decline it. An application can automatically track the messages, making situations clearer to everyone involved.

TETRA – making hospitals run smoothly

At its most successful, healthcare is like a well-oiled machine. When professionals, each an expert in their own field, bring together their knowledge and concentrate their skills to benefit patients, they can achieve great things.

The result? Better care with the least resources. Here are some ways TETRA helps hospitals run smoothly: 

  • Faster patient care with fewer delays. This can save lives.
  • Less time spent calling people one by one
  • Less time spent trying to find a person
  • In a group, everyone gets the same, accurate picture of the overall situation
  • Everyone can be informed of a critical fact at once, for example, if there is a glitch in the IT systems.
  • Better patient and personnel safety - a nurse can make an emergency, highest priority call
  • No wrong numbers - TETRA group calls reach the right people

Watch on video: Doctors and nurses explain why they prefer TETRA communication and would not go back to using smartphones.

Real-life experiences in hospitals have busted common myths about TETRA radio communication in medical care. Learn the truth from this myth-busting guide on 5 wrong ideas about TETRA in hospitals:

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