The healthcare industry’s shift toward a value-based care reimbursement model has prompted healthcare providers to turn their attention toward improving patient safety and preventing “never” events, such as wrong-site surgery, that should never happen in the field of medical treatment. The definition of never events has expanded to include things such as falls, missed care or hospital-acquired infections.
Topics: Patient Safety
Picture this scenario: It’s time to upgrade your hospital’s nurse call system. First, you research and select a vendor, then schedule installation, training and Go Live. That’s it, right? Not if you want to take advantage of new technologies available in next generation nurse call communications systems.
Believe it or not, the history of nurse call dates back to the mid-1800s. During the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of modern nursing, realized patients needed a way to ring for nurses. She remembered how the wealthy rang bells to summon servants in affluent homes, and envisioned a similar concept for nurses and patients. In a letter to an acquaintance, Nightingale wrote, “Without a system of this kind, a nurse is converted into a pair of legs for running up [and] down the stairs.” 1
Topics: Nurse Call
More than two weeks have passed since the 2018 midterm elections, where an estimated 113 million voters turned out to cast their ballot on the local, state and federal levels. Although immigration, the economy and gun control were hot-button topics, multiple surveys revealed that healthcare was the No. 1 policy issue for both Democrat and Republican voters.
Clinicians understand the value of a next-generation nurse call system because they’re the staff members who actually use the technology. However, nurse executives with the power to drive decision-making around purchasing a new nurse call system may have limited knowledge of the clinical challenges caused by outdated nurse call technologies.
The healthcare industry’s shift to a value-based care model has many hospital leaders scrambling to find ways to increase patient satisfaction and, in turn, raise scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys. An advanced nurse call technology is a great multi-pronged solution. According to a 2017 article in Health Facilities Management, the “latest advances in nurse communication systems enable streamlined, customized communication among patients, clinicians and caregivers to enhance patient satisfaction and improve quality of care.”
Both the Institute of Medicine and The Joint Commission recommend that healthcare organizations model their care strategies after those of high-reliability industries such as aviation, nuclear facilities and military operations. One of those strategies is situational awareness, a concept that means you have a clear understanding of what’s going on around you and how to use that information to mitigate risk. While situational awareness is still not a commonly used term in the healthcare industry, it is gaining traction as more clinicians and industry leaders understand the link between awareness and clinical decision-making.
Healthcare isn’t as safe as it should be—a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine estimates that more than 250,000 people in the United States die from preventable medical errors, making it the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
This estimate is much larger than the Institute of Medicine study in 1999, which claimed that nearly 100,000 patients die from medical errors each year, and which kicked off the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “100,000 Lives Campaign” national patient safety movement. The difference is that medical errors are often not identified on death certificates as the primary cause of death. Even though value-based care is designed to reduce errors, acute care hospitals often respond to, rather than predict and prevent, events, according to a report published in the journal Hospital Pediatrics.
Nurses face urgent scenarios every day that require quick thinking. A keen sense of situational awareness—i.e. understanding what’s happening with a patient and what’s likely to happen in the future—is critical to clinical decision-making. However, actually achieving situational awareness is threatened by nurse fatigue, which is dangerous for both clinicians and patients.
When it comes to purchasing a new nurse call system, it’s easy to focus on meeting the needs of the clinical team. But nurses aren’t the only hospital employees who care about the nurse call system. Hospital facility directors are also vested in the purchasing or decision-making team at most healthcare facilities.