As the nursing profession continues to evolve rapidly and nurses take on more duties, adapt to changing technologies, and continuously confront the growing complexities of their roles, nurses are “changing our very notion of modern medicine and healthcare delivery.” These new demands, triggered by shifting regulatory requirements, financial pressures, the increasing need for collaboration, and the rapid pace of technology have expanded the role and influence of nurses significantly.
54% of nurses are dissatisfied with current communication methods outside of the EHR.
To meet these challenges, the healthcare delivery model is changing, too: Nurses are now essential partners on interdisciplinary healthcare teams, and must juggle even more competing priorities, on top of their highest: spending as much time as possible with their patients.
This is where technology can help make an important impact, in the form of an enterprise healthcare communications platform. Also it can help to Enhance Workflows for Physicians With an Enterprise Healthcare. The right technology, such as Spok Care Connect®, can offer innovative options for helping to manage those competing priorities and affording more time with patients at the bedside. We’ll explore several communication strategies, including use case examples for:
- Care Team Communication
- Patient Care Coordination
- Workflow Efficiency
1. IMPROVE CARE TEAM COMMUNICATION
From doctors, specialists, and pharmacy staff to dieticians and nurse practitioners, care teams are dynamic and varied. Staying connected isn’t easy, especially when everyone is constantly on the move. The ability to connect with any member of the care team quickly and easily from wherever they happen to be, and be able to exchange detailed, confidential information securely, is critical to improving patient care and outcomes.
Nurses walk an average of 4-5 miles during a 12-hour shift. Most Americans walk just 2.5-3 miles during the course of an 18-hour day.
USE CASE #1: MOBILE MESSAGING
The ability to send mobile messages on a variety of devices provides some obvious advantages for nurses. The secure messaging app that is part of the Spok Care Connect platform is HIPAA-compliant and allows key staff members to exchange messages and conduct consultations from the device of their choice. The intuitive app allows users to send text, images, and videos to smartphones and other devices. Messages can be easily created from predefined templates, simplifying the process for frequently used types of communication. This app helps avoid phone tag because updates, consult requests, and test results can be easily texted, and the app logs communications to ensure security, traceability, and reliability.
USE CASE #2: LOCATE THE RIGHT PERSON
Nurses are constantly communicating with members of the patient care team, including individuals working both inside and outside the hospital. Schedules and contact information vary and can change often. There might be a quick question for a doctor on a medication change, or the need to check on a physical therapist’s schedule for the day. If a phone number has to be tracked down by walking to the nurse’s station and looking through a binder, or several messages have to be left trying to locate someone, that’s valuable time wasted. Even worse, when personnel and schedule information is inaccurate or not readily accessible, critical messages can go to the wrong person or to the wrong place—an office phone instead of a smartphone. Nurses may also not always know who they need to contact by name–only by role. Spok® allows for role-based look up, so for example, a nurse can type “cardiologist” and quickly locate the on-call cardiologist at that particular time. The Spok secure messaging app links to a powerful communication system allowing users to access the hospital’s full, web-based directory of up-to-date contact information on their devices. Nurses can log on anywhere, anytime to access contact information and on-call schedules, search the directory, and send important messages.
2. SUPPORT BETTER PATIENT CARE COORDINATION
Today’s increasingly complex patients require coordinated, multidisciplinary care that involves teams working in concert with an array of technology. Multiple monitoring systems provide staff with a constant stream of information about patients. All this data offers tremendous benefits, yet the sheer volume of it can be a problem. Effective management of the information from these systems is key to determining which information is actionable and delivering excellent patient care.
USE CASE #1: CLINICAL ALERTING
Throughout a shift, nurses are always on the move: They need to attend to several patients at once, and that includes all of the systems monitoring the patient that go beep and buzz throughout their shift. An alarm system analysis at Johns Hopkins indicated there were an average of 350 alerts per bed per day. Being able to receive important alerts and alarms on their phones with enough context to act allows nurses to monitor patient situations from wherever they are. Spok Care Connect clinical alerting sends system-generated alarm notifications directly to mobile nurses to support fast triage of critical patient conditions. The solution integrates a variety of patient monitoring systems with wireless telephones, smartphones, voice badges, and/or pagers. Different audible tones allow nurses to identify critical alerts right away. Alarms from patient care devices such as infusion pumps, pulse oximeters, and ventilators can be integrated as well. Sending all of these alerts and alarms directly to nurses’ mobile devices helps combat alarm fatigue and makes it easier to prioritize patients’ needs.
USE CASE #2: NURSE CALL INTEGRATION
Managing a steady stream of requests and interruptions means nurses are constantly walking, or even running, from room to room. The ability to get detailed information about their patients’ needs on their secure mobile devices could save a lot of time and effort. Spok Care Connect can integrate with nurse call systems to deliver alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver. Patient requests requiring a nurse’s knowledge and skills, like more pain medication, will go to their assigned nurse. However, simple requests like those for a glass of water or an extra blanket can be routed to an orderly, supply technician, or other staff member. This can help free nurses to concentrate on those duties that are most important: They can coordinate quick responses to every patient request, but aren’t pulled away for duties better handled by someone else. This technology also helps support “quiet hospital” or “silent hospital” initiatives, since routing these requests to mobile devices reduces the need for overhead paging and audible conversations at the nurses station and in hospital hallways. By converting these announcements and conversations to messages, patients have the quiet environment they need for rest and healing.