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SentarAlert Invites Patients, Visitors to Opt-in for Texts During Critical Safety Events

Provided by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

Patients and visitors at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, as well as all Sentara Healthcare hospitals and outpatient facilities, are now able to receive timely text messages during critical safety events. A new opt-in emergency notification service dubbed SentarAlert allows anyone in Sentara facilities to receive the same texts Sentara employees receive through our emergency notification
system (ENS).

SentarAlert allows patients and visitors to text a key word unique to each Sentara facility or region to
333111 and immediately begin receiving critical safety messages. SentarAlert will begin the service with two critical safety notifications: Active Shooter and Evacuation. At 120 characters, notifications are brief and cryptic, like tweets, and designed to be augmented by overhead pages in hospitals and sites with public address systems.

“Sentara takes safety very seriously. We want to ensure our patients and guests are informed of emergency situations as they arise,” explained Tim Bowers, MS, CHSO, Director of Security for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “Sentara is offering a new emergency notification system to anyone who signs up. This system is very similar to those used on college campuses and by governments across the nation to alert authorized people of emergency situations. To receive the Sentara Northern Virginia emergency notifications on your phone, please text the keyword SENTARANV to 333111.”

Opt-in subscriptions last for seven day cycles, when subscribers are notified by text that they are
unsubscribed. But they can subscribe again right away for the next cycle. SentarAlert is designed as a safety enhancement for patients and visitors while they are in Sentara hospitals, nursing centers, therapy centers and other ambulatory sites of care. The texts are designed to help employees, patients and visitors make informed decisions during critical safety events.

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