Walk past a hospital nursing station, and the cacophony of beeping, buzzing, and whirring alarms will stop you in your tracks. All you can hear is the din of heart monitors, ventilators, IV lines, and up to 1,800 other medical devices vying for your attention.
Work in a hospital nursing station, though, and you’ll become immune to the noise. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that medical devices generated almost two dozen alarms per hour. They also found that 99 percent of the ward patients’ alarms were false alarms. Not surprisingly, when there was an uptick in false alarms, response times also increased.
This is attributable to a phenomenon known as “alarm fatigue,” wherein the sheer number of false or nuisance alarms cause sensory overload and, ultimately, desensitization. Understandably, alarm fatigue can negatively impact patient safety.
Contributing to alarm fatigue among nurses is the overlay of relentless dinging of call buttons from patients who need assistance. In the paper, “Is Nurse Call Still Necessary?”, Gartner analyst Barry Runyon questioned the role of nurse call. He postulated that old-school nurse call buttons don’t align with today’s healthcare delivery models and higher standards relating to patient experience. Indeed, disruptive technology – such as app-based interactive digital systems – has the potential to make traditional nurse call systems redundant.
Today’s real-time notification technologies encompass elements of interactive patient care, collaboration and communication among staff, alarms, and nurse call. Few would argue that each of these avenues is part of the roadmap for the future of healthcare delivery.
Nevertheless, the reliable functionality of nurse call systems can literally mean the difference between life and death. For example, the typical 37-pin port nurse call system becomes damaged or is rendered useless when beds are moved without first disconnecting nurse call system cables. Hospitals that don’t want nurse call system casualties – either patients or broken bed cables – often install the Blackjack, a magnetic breakaway nurse call cable that prevents wall and port damage.
Reliability is why most hospitals require that their systems conform to UL 1069 guidelines. Underwriters Laboratories (the “UL” in UL 1069) tests equipment against the “Standard for Hospital Signaling and Nurse Call Equipment.”
Both wired and wireless nurse call systems can be approved under UL 1069, but compliance requirements make it difficult for disruptive technologies to stake a claim in the nurse call system space. Gartner’s Runyon opines that, as a result, vendors will offer nurse call functionality without labeling it as such.
In thinking about nurse call through the lens of technological advances, it seems wise to set aside “either/or” in favor of “both/and.” New medical devices with alerts and alarms should and will be developed, and technologies will evolve that enable robust patient monitoring while lowering the incidence of false alarms.
Similarly, interactive patient-nurse systems – such as those offered by software vendors and delivered via mobile devices – will empower patients to communicate in non-emergency situations. These systems should supplement – rather than replace – the more traditional fail-safe emergency nurse call system.
Over the past half-century, patient engagement tools have evolved from hospital room television rentals to immersive interactive software. Today, everything from health education to entertainment is delivered to the patient’s bedside, often on a mobile tablet. User-friendly patient interfaces and powerful clinical management consoles improve communication, patient literacy, and ultimately HCAHPS ratings.
Here, we review seven companies on the cutting edge of patient engagement information technology.
GetWellNetwork understands that different patient populations have different needs. That’s why the company has developed inpatient engagement software that speaks to adult, pediatric, senior, and veteran patient populations.
The company’s ambulatory patient engagement solution is designed for emergency departments, physician offices, and ambulatory surgery centers. Its population health management software delivers education, medication information, and chronic condition management tools for patients at home.
GetWellNetwork boasts 50 million patient interactions per year at four dozen pediatric hospitals, five dozen Magnet hospitals, and two dozen medical centers. The company is also the largest interactive patient care provider for the Veteran’s Administration; their patient engagement tools are installed in 40 VA medical centers.
SONIFI enables hospitals to engage patients before they set foot in the facility. A web portal gives patients and their families the opportunity to get ready for their stay. It also instructs them about the role they can play in creating a favorable outcome.
For three decades, SONIFI delivered guest entertainment to the hospitality industry. Their expansion into the healthcare sector uniquely positions the company to offer patients a wide variety of entertainment options, including DirecTV, movies edited to be airline-appropriate, music, and video games. TV-tablet integration means that, once in the hospital, patients can access SONIFI’s patient engagement solution via the small or large screen – or even split screen. Family members can watch TV or a movie while the patient interacts with the tablet.
Allen Technologies is a pioneer in patient engagement tools, launching 40 years ago as a provider of rental televisions for patient rooms. Today, their E3 Patient Engagement Solutions include common patient engagement tools, as well extra features such as valet parking, pastoral care requests, an online gift shop, and hospital maps.
The software provider also integrates facilities management by reducing airflow to unoccupied rooms, and then automatically adjusting temperatures when a new patient arrives. The software can also integrate with hospital housekeeping, streamlining communications to reduce the time needed to prepare a room for occupancy.
Founded as Telerent Leasing Corporation in 1957, TeleHealth Services focuses on patient education and entertainment. The company offers three patient engagement solutions, all delivered via television: SmarTigr, Tigr AP, and TRMS. SmarTigr focuses on patient education and satisfaction from pre-admission through post-discharge, while Tigr AP is a scalable architecture for expansion-focused hospitals and health systems. TRMS is a cost-shifting program that enables patients to order and rent television and telephone service.
Oneview starts with a core platform, upon which feature packs are built. The packs are tailored to enhancing the patient experience, streamlining workflow, providing a patient portal, and improving communications. While most packs mirror services offered by other software providers, the patient portal feature includes patient scheduling, messaging, billing, and dependent management. Similarly, the communication pack includes telemedicine and VoIP, as well as the ability to track which members of the care team are currently available. Add-on modules provide mapping options that integrate with scheduling systems to aid the admissions process, as well as accessibility technologies to assist patients and digital signage.
Oneview Healthcare launched in 2008, and is headquartered in Ireland, with offices in Australia, the U.S., and Dubai. It is publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange under the stock symbol ONE.
Wellframe produces a mobile platform designed to provide interactive care programs to chronically ill or remote patients. The company’s interactive care platform delivers a daily health checklist to the patient’s smartphone or tablet app. Wellframe’s evidence-based clinical modules and predictive algorithms inform patient goals and health education information. HIPAA-compliant text messaging enables care managers to adjust care plans and message members.
A health IT startup, Wellframe brought in investments of $10 million through two rounds of funding in 2014. In 2017, the company added another $15 million of capital to its coffers.
AbleTo focuses solely on behavioral health, pairing patients with licensed clinical social workers and behavioral coaches who practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The company works with healthcare plans and employers, using algorithms to identify and screen high-cost patients with stress, anxiety, and depression. Then, the AbleTo platform enables appointment scheduling, clinical notes and documentation, and coordinated care.
Patients and providers speak over the phone or via secure video chat. AbleTo claims that its CBT interventions dramatically reduce hospitalizations and disability claims, and increase work productivity.
In August 2017, the health IT startup announced a fourth funding round of $36.6 million, bringing their total venture capital investment to $57.4 million.
Assessing patient engagement software or platforms necessitates a careful review of features. The right combination will make patient satisfaction skyrocket while improving outcomes and streamlining workflows. Software delivered to patients on tablets also requires an evaluation of how tablets will be mounted in a clinical or hospital setting. Rolling stands and wall mounts tend to be obstacles for healthcare providers, so it’s wise to consider the Talon Tablet Mount. The universal mount keeps tablets secure while ensuring patient accessibility to an abundance of patient engagement features.
To view the corresponding infographic on the features of these companies' products, please click here.
There is a lack of innovation in the pillow speaker market. We feel so strongly about this that we recently published a blog article on the topic. We find that there hasn’t been much change to them in the past 30 years. There are endless possibilities of what can be done to improve this communication device, both cosmetically and functionally.
So, with that in mind, we decided to offer an upgrade.
If you are familiar with our company, you have probably heard of BlackJack -- the only magnetic breakaway nurse call cable. If you work with or around hospital beds, it is likely you have experienced a broken nurse call cable and damaged walls. This damage occurs when hospital beds are moved without disconnecting the cables first. Damaged or broken cables mean time and money is being wasted for repairs when those precious resources can be used better elsewhere. A solution for this is a breakaway nurse call cable but an even better solution is a magnetic breakaway nurse call cable. Similar to MacBook charger cables, BlackJack’s magnetic adapter breakaway cable plugs into the connected nurse call system. Instead of fumbling with aligning arrows, and manually inserting plugs, BlackJack makes the process of connecting and disconnecting the pillow speaker cables simple and fast.
With BlackJack in mind, we have created a magnetic pillow speaker adapter breakaway cable.
It’s no surprise that hospitals are hard on equipment. Especially equipment that is on the front line with patients. When pillow speakers are tied to bed rails, stretchers, or other equipment they can break. Further, if there is an emergency and the bed is pulled out of the room without untying the pillow speaker, it can break the nurse call station. Damage to pillow speakers and nurse call stations is costly and takes time to repair. With tight budgets and high demands on hospitals’ maintenance staff, durable, innovative equipment is essential.
Not only will the magnetic pillow speaker cord minimize damage and costly repairs, it will improve patient safety, hospital communication, and patient satisfaction. When pillow speakers are working and connected, they keep patients safe, provide them with a direct line of communication with their caretakers, and give them a sense of control. If a pillow speaker is damaged or not connected to the nurse call system, these important factors are jeopardized. With a magnetic breakaway pillow speaker cord, damage to the cord and nurse call system is greatly reduced, ensuring that each patient has a properly working, connected pillow speaker.
Overall, our magnetic pillow speaker cord is a quick disconnect cable that is designed to connect to any make or model of nurse call system. It has been designed to retrofit current pillow speaker models and greatly reduces damage to pillow speakers and connected nurse call systems. For example, this retrofit pillow speaker product works with all Nurse Call systems including Rauland Responder 4 and 5, Hill-Rom Composer/Navicare, and Ascom Telegence.
If you are interested in HatchMed’s magnetic pillow speaker cord, you can request more information and a free sample here.
HatchMed is excited to announce that we are now the exclusive distributor of aXtraHand’s technology -- now known as IV Tow.
What is IV Tow?
It is a clamping system that connects patient transport equipment (wheelchair, stretcher, bed, gurney, rollators, etc.) to the patient’s IV pole. IV Tow was created in response to the awkward and painful current method of transporting patients when they are connected to an IV Pole.
Why IV Tow?
Much of the work performed by nurses, caregivers, and transport managers involves pushing and pulling patients around the hospital. This pushing and pulling may increase a worker’s risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders, such as back and shoulder injuries. Not only do nurses need to move an occupied bed, they also need to worry about the patient’s IV pole. This results in nurses pushing patients with one hand and the IV pole with the other. This is dangerous for both the patient and the nurse.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of 365,580 Musculoskeletal Disorders, Nursing Assistants had the highest incidence of injuries. Over 52% of nurses suffer from chronic back pain and 12% of nurses leave the profession each year due to back injuries. With back injuries costing anywhere from $5,000 - $100,000, the high turnover rate of nurses, and the increasing number of patients needing care -- hospitals need to take action.
What about the IV Pole on the wheelchair or stretcher?
Transferring bags and pumps from the patient’s IV Pole to the IV Pole on a wheelchair or stretcher can lead to inadvertent changes in a pump setting and twisting of the tubing. Which in turn can poorly affect the patient's health and well-being.
Time also plays a factor. Nurses are primarily the ones that are required to move pumps and bags from one IV Pole to another. This wastes time for nurses, transporters, and patients.
In the end, with IV Tow, the patient’s IV Pole stays with them at all times.
CH-1003 is a wheelchair to IV Pole clamping system that easily attaches existing hospital wheelchairs to IV Poles. It allows transport managers to focus on moving the patient in a wheelchair without having to strain themselves to simultaneously hold the IV Pole.
CH-2000 is an IV to IV Pole clamping system designed with maintenance in mind. With it, there is no more struggling to move multiple IV Poles at once. Simply attach the CH-2000 to the IV Poles you wish to move to bundle them or make a train.
CH-6000 is a heavy duty clamp end that wraps around the entire range of square or round bars without marring the equipment. The unique two position latch saves time when switching from a 2” bar to a smaller bar. Further, it locks and releases quickly and easily with a simple twist of the knob.
Overall, the IV Tow is affordable, easy to install, simple to use, lightweight, helpful in reducing patient transport time, and most importantly, it reduces injuries to patients, nurses, and transport staff. With IV Tow, HatchMed is striving to streamline safe patient handling and improve patient and caregiver safety.
If you look at the evolution of mobile phones, from Motorola’s first phone in 1983 to Apple’s latest iPhone, there has been a lot of innovation. Now, if you look at pillow speakers in hospitals, there hasn’t been much change in the past 30 years.
Truth be told: they are BORING. After all of these years, all they can do is call a nurse, turn lights on and off, and control the TV. There are endless possibilities as to what can be done to improve this communication device cosmetically and functionally. They haven’t looked different in 30 years.
Curbell’s website states:
The hospital pillow speaker originated more than five decades ago, when Curbell crafted the first model for General Electric. And from one generation to the next, Curbell has only enhanced its reputation by driving innovation, ensuring the highest levels of safety, reliability and durability. The Gen4 line is our latest breakthrough in pillow speaker design, bringing the performance of these products into the future. Just like we always have.
- Large buttons are easy to find and press
- Intuitive button layout like home remote controls
- Superior Sound Quality
- DirectAccess 0-9 keypad enables direct navigation to specific channels and provides familiar home remote features such as previous channel and mute.
- Comfort-grip Case is streamlined and lightweight
- Proprietary Sealed Design Aids in Infection Control
- Allows for quick and easy cleaning and greater infection control by helping to reduce the risk of dirt, grime, and infectious fluids collecting on or in the unit.
- UL Listed and Oxygen Safe
- Ensures highest level of safety and regulatory compliance.
- Customization Available
- Options for customizing buttons, cable length, etc.
- All Gen4 pillow speakers can be easily reprogrammed in the field for use with different brand healthcare grade televisions.
- Stereo Headphone Jack Option
- Ideal for creating a quieter environment for patient rooms. Simply plug in earphones with an 1/8" plug.
- Analog Volume Control Option
- For situations where two pillow speakers need to control one TV, and a bed and pillow speaker share TV control.
- 2 Year Warranty
Crest’s website states:
The Crest Elite Pillow Speaker line launched in July of 2015. The Elite line of pillow speakers have a small contoured design which fits the hand for ease of use, enhanced infection control features and raised buttons that click for call placement reassurance.
- Digital, Infrared and Slimline Pillow Speakers available
- Choose from accessories such as pillow speaker bags, pillow speaker holder and pillow speaker/call cord tester
- Replacement parts or mail-in repair service available
Anacom Medtek's website states:
Anacom Medtek as innovated in the area of adding customizable colors with a disconnectable cable, and has a reputation for fast customer service, and custom attention.
All 3 of these companies have a reputation for quality and customer service but seem to lack innovation in disrupting the market.
Here are some ideas we have heard from customers on how to improve pillow speakers:
- Make pillow speakers touch screen
- Integrate Keyboards
- Expand IR capability
- Magnetic Breakaway
- More durable and cleanable product
Without a doubt, there is a lack of innovation in the pillow speaker market. How would you improve pillow speakers?
It’s no secret that mobile devices are heavily used in everyday life and in the professional world. iPads, tablets and smartphones have also found their place in the working world, particularly in healthcare. One challenge, that all healthcare providers are facing, is making sure these devices are secure. Under HIPAA rules, it is essential that all medical devices, and the data they contain, are protected against misuse. However, according to IT professionals, device users are not as careful as they should be.
According to a Cisco Systems Report, IT professionals believe that employees are engaging in risky behavior that is putting personal and healthcare data at risk. In fact, the survey indicates that over 44% of employees are sharing work devices against company policy and 46% of employees admit to transferring work data to personal devices in order to work from home. In the case of healthcare professionals, this action alone is a violation of HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
This is where geo-fencing comes into play. According to TechTarget, geo-fencing (geofencing) is a feature in a software program that uses GPS or radio frequency identification to define geographical boundaries. Once this “virtual barrier” is established, administrators can set up triggers that trigger an alert if the device enters or leave the specific area.
When looking at healthcare, geofencing can limit the information that users can access on devices and also the physical location where access is permitted. Geofencing gives IT professionals greater control over Protected Health Information (PHI) and where it can be accessed. For example, a hospital-owned tablet can have a geofence installed which only allows access to PHI within the boundaries of the hospital. If the tablet is taken outside the boundaries, administrators can remotely, and automatically, prevent hospital information from being accessed.
Aside from keeping healthcare data safe, geofencing is also being used to help users in several different ways.
Navigation: Who hasn’t gotten lost in hospitals? Several hospitals are being proactive by implementing apps that help patients and guests navigate hospital wings and halls.
Safety: Geofencing can also provide safety. For example, caregivers can receive text or email alerts when patients step out of permitted “fenced” areas, like outside the facility or in a maintenance closet.
Sales and Specials: If your facility has a gift shop or cafeteria, you can send notifications to users who are in close proximity.
Manage Care: A recent article from UCSF shared that geofencing can be used to track and manage care for patients. Further, the ability to provide feedback on lifestyle changes that could help them is on the horizon.
Overall, geofencing is quite simply a virtual fence in the real world. It provides many uses in healthcare, from keeping devices and data safe to assisting in managing in patient care. Does your facility use geofencing? If so, leave a comment below on the innovative ways your facility is using geofencing!
Apple devices have seen an increased presence in the workplace. Industries such as construction, retail, finance, education, and others have brought iOS to the workplace. Apple’s operating software is being implemented for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) security and durability, and the overall user-friendly software. Like many industries, healthcare has introduced iPads and iPhones to hospitals and clinics around the world. In fact, a recent survey found that 62.5% of physicians use Apple products daily. Healthcare professionals are choosing Apple products for their professional lives, because they use Apple products in their personal lives. They are familiar with the way iOS operates, they trust Apple products.
So, why do healthcare organizations like iOS? Let’s take a look.
With their focus in mobility, iOS has quickly become the platform of choice in healthcare. Due to qualities such as intuitive, user-friendly interface, extensive availability of apps, and other built-in tools that empower all users to be more productive than ever, outside the constraints of the traditional desktop computer. iOS is the only platform that is designed for consumers and also embraced by businesses. iOS also meets the security standards for the healthcare industry, thus improving the patient experience.
Security meets industry standards
By law, healthcare organizations are required to meet certain privacy and security standards when it comes to protecting patient information. This is known as HIPAA in the United States (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 196). If a healthcare organization wants to use any mobile device, certain security protocols need to be in place. As far as both employers and IT departments are concerned, Apple is the most secure platform while also being the easiest to manage. All of their products have a built-in mobile device management (MDM) framework that ensures these security settings are enforced.
Thanks to MDM, caregivers don’t have to spend valuable time manually setting up devices for patients. Once the patient checks out, the iPad can be remotely wiped to remove all patient data and reset to factory settings. This readies the device to be automatically set up for the next patient. With the Casper Suite (if that’s your MDM solution) iPads are configured, deployed, wiped and given to the next patient. Further, thanks to the Casper Suite, iPads can be digitally sterilized between each patient.
Patient experience is transformed
Once facilities are able to secure the devices, they can focus on why they invested in the technology in the first place: improving the patient experience. A good bedside experience should include secure access to education and entertainment for patients and easy accessibility to the device itself.
Downtime in a hospital can be long and boring. Providing patients with tablets is an effective way to combat boredom. With iPads, patients can access entertainment, education, assistance, communication and surveys right from their bed. The multi-faceted functionality of iPads makes it one of the most useful tools a hospital could implement to improve the patient experience.
While iPads may sound like a no-brainer, there is one common complaint from hospitals and patients: iPads can be tiring to hold -- especially for recovering patients. If it’s being used to watch a movie, holding it for over two hours can be uncomfortable. An obvious solution for this problem is a tablet mount. However, traditional tablet mounts mount to walls, or use a rolling stand -- both of which get in the way of nurses and take up valuable space in already cramped hospital rooms. Unlike traditional mounts, the Talon Tablet Mount puts iPads in the best place for patients -- on the bed rail. With The Talon, tablets are within reach of patients and can be easily lowered with the bed rail if needed. It is lockable, durable, cleanable, and easy to use.
Thanks to Apple’s iOS devices, a wealth of health-related apps and the Talon Tablet Mount as your mounting solution, healthcare organizations can ensure devices meet security standards and enhance the patient experience.
Don’t have the Talon as your mounting solution? Click here and we can organize a demo.
It should come as no surprise that while hospitals might be in the business of providing the best medical care, they are also in the business of hospitality and customer service. And now, with the inception of the HCAHPS survey, hospitality and customer service means more for hospitals than ever before. HCAHPS, or more colloquially referred to as “h-caps” stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. What this means is that upon discharge, patients are randomly selected to rate their time at the hospital in 21 categories. These categories range from doctors’ communication, nurse attention and the noise level in the hospital. In fact, based on patient ratings, Hospitals can have 2% of their medicare payments added or withheld as of 2017.
“Reimbursements are increasingly tied to quality outcomes, and HCAHPS scores have quickly become a critically important identifier that can benchmark quality from a patient point of view,” said Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, Chief Clinical Officer for AMN Healthcare. Hospitals that provide a higher quality of care receive reimbursements and hospitals that provide a lower quality of care will be penalized. Thus, patient satisfaction can ultimately make or break a hospital. Healthcare leaders have an even more pressing interest in protecting their hospital and to improve patient experience, it is best to go straight to the front lines, those who have 24/7 influence on patient experience: Nurses.
New research has revealed the strong, direct impact that staff engagement has on HCAHPS scores. A recent study found that the facilities with the highest employee engagement (top 10%) scored an average of 61% higher on the HCAHPS Overall Hospital Rating metric. This has healthcare leaders raising their voices about the connection between staff satisfaction and patient satisfaction. Tony Armada, CEO of Advocate Lutheran General in Chicago sums it up well, advising: “I would urge health care leaders to understand that patients going forward will have more choice than ever, and it is best to serve our patients with a group of people that are dedicated and engaged.”
A recent Press Ganey research paper found that nurses’ work environment is a key driver of a hospital’s overall performance. Further, the report found that patient experience, as measured by HCAHPS scores, is significantly correlated with RN hours per patient day. In fact, this study also concluded that the nurse work environment is significantly related to all HCAHPS patient satisfaction measures. Additionally, it found that patient-to-nurse workloads were associated with patients’ ratings and recommendation of the hospital to others.
Two employee engagement strategies that can improve patient satisfaction include implementing the correct staffing and managing nurse overtime. The ability to staff correctly is important for staff satisfaction and retention. A Nursing Economics article argued, “When nurses are exposed to inadequate staffing levels, they leave their positions. The impact of overtime starts with a drain on labor costs. More importantly, extensive overtime takes a toll on employees”. Another study solidifies the relationship between longer shifts and nurse reports of professional burnout and job dissatisfaction.
Another simple way to improving nurses’ work environments is to make sure their equipment is up to date and working correctly. The BlackJack magnetic breakaway cable helps to ensure the connection between the nurse call unit and the patient's’ hospital bed. The ease of use of the cable allows each nurse to ensure that the patient is being taken care of without taking any more time away from their already busy schedule. Taking no more time than a blink, nurses can ensure that beds are securely hooked up to the nurse call unit, and will not be harassed by unnecessary alarms later in their shift. And with better nursecall connectivity comes decreased patient falls, which in turn leads to better HCAHPS scores.
Overall, improving nurses’ work environments, including nurse staffing, managing overtime and making sure their equipment works correctly, seems to be the key to improving the patient experience and quality of work. Because, ultimately the more positive the relationships between patients and nurses are, the better the patient experience will be.
Nurses are the backbone of healthcare. They continuously provide care on the front lines, provide a multitude of essential functions, and tirelessly work to better the lives of their patients. A survey found that nursing is one of the most trusted professions by the public. In fact, 82% of the respondents rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses ‘high/very high’.
Even though nurses are highly esteemed by their peers and the public, a large number of them suffer from disengagement and job dissatisfaction. The feeling of powerlessness is prevalent among nurses who perceive that they are unable to act autonomously or have a voice on the policies that affect them. Nursing is no longer simply about bedside manner and medical intervention. It is about building relationships within the entire care team and empowering them so they can deliver the best patient-centered care.
There are several compelling reasons to empower nurses. Empowered nurses possess highly effective conflict resolution skills, understand nursing ethics, and maintain open communication with the entire healthcare team. Further, a culture of empowerment among nurses decreases the length of hospital stays and improves overall patient outcomes. With both nurses’ job satisfaction and patient satisfaction go hand-in-hand, it is imperative to focus on empowering nurses so they can do what they do best -- care for patients.
Here are some strategies for nurse empowerment.
Give Nurses a Voice
A key attribute to burnout in nurses’ job dissatisfaction is that they often feel underrepresented in the organization and in their role in patient care. As frontline caregivers, nurses have direct knowledge of the practices that drive patient satisfaction. They need to be empowered so they can voice these insights to administrators. One simple way to give nurses a voice is to actively seek them out for their feedback.
"Empowerment is about how you design the infrastructure or a system where the voice of the nurse can be heard," says Martie Moore, RN, CNO of Mundelein, Ill.-based Medline Industries. "Empowerment is…creating that culture of safety where people feel they can speak up in a professional, respectful manner, or share their concerns to where you're able to hear each other and listen to each other in a mutual and respectful way." Further, Ms. Moore says that this type of empowerment allows nurses to grow their own personal practices and advance in their learning.
Give Nurses Control
A nurses’ perception that he/she has control over the professional practice, processes, and care given at work promotes engagement and empowerment. Studies have found that active participation in organization decision-making has been found to be connected to higher levels of work efficiency and decreased levels of exhaustion. When nurses are given the power to meet patient's needs as they see fit, you will have more actively engaged nurses and patients.
As interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Capella University, Christy Davidson said, “Patients can tell the difference when hospitals empower nurses.” With 3.5 million nurses in the United States, they have a substantial amount of influence over clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. At the end of the day, empowered nurses lead to increased job satisfaction, higher levels of organizational commitment, and most important -- increased patient satisfaction.
MedTech Breakthrough is an independent organization that recognizes the top companies and products in the health and medical technology industries. They recently announced that HatchMed’s Talon Tablet Mount has been selected as the winner of the “Best Overall Patient Engagement Solution” award, among other category winners such as Stryker, Apple, and Nike+.
The mission of the MedTech Breakthrough Awards is to honor excellence and recognize the creativity, hard work, and success in a range of health and medical technology categories. This year, there were over 2,000 nominations from 10 different countries across the world.
“Competition was strong in MedTech Breakthrough’s patient engagement award category this year. There were impressive nominations from a wide variety of innovators in the patient engagement market,” said James Johnson, managing director of MedTech Breakthrough. “Our congratulations go out to HatchMed for standing out from the crowd with their Talon Tablet Mount to receive this recognition and look forward to continued success for HatchMed in the years to come.”
“We are incredibly proud to receive the prestigious MedTech Breakthrough Award distinction for the Talon Tablet Mount,” stated Brian Hatch, Founder and CEO of HatchMed. “There is a huge amount of innovation happening in the patient engagement space right now, and we are excited to be on the cutting edge. Our goal is to deliver solutions that improve the hospital experience for patients and providers alike - ultimately contributing to better outcomes and higher HCAHPS scores. The Talon does that by allowing hospitals to easily and safely deploy hospital owned tablet devices that enable a host of applications from patient education and translations, to entertainment therapy and climate control. It’s an incredible resource, just waiting to be utilized.”
The Talon Tablet Mount is the only universal tablet mount that puts a tablet in a hospital room in a way that makes sense: on the hospital stretcher or bed rail. The Talon’s mounting system makes it easy to mount tablets onto the rails of hospital beds, and other equipment. Other tablet mounts mount to the wall, which is inconvenient and can get in the way of nurses. The Talon Tablet Mount locks to the bedrail, is cleanable, and can be easily lowered with the bed rail, if needed.
HatchMed created this patient engagement solution for hospitals who had no way to safely and effectively provide the hospital owned tablets to patients.
Overall, The Talon is a durable, lockable, cleanable, customizable tablet mount that comes with an unmatched 5-year warranty.
Although tablet computers have been around for several years, the introduction of Apple’s iPad in 2010 created a buzz, and some apprehension, in the healthcare industry. The new iPads and tablets alike have been finding use in hospitals. They have been implemented in emergency rooms, waiting rooms and patient rooms alike. With applications ranging from providing patients with education and entertainment, to helping hospitals increase their patient satisfaction scores, the multi-faceted functionality of tablets make them one of the most useful tools a hospital could implement.
Despite all the surrounding hype, healthcare leaders are expressing doubts about the effectiveness of tablets, like the iPad, in a clinical setting. Here are some common concerns of using iPads in hospitals.
They can easily be stolen.
If you are concerned about keeping your hospital’s tablets safe from theft, add a physical lock to the device. The Talon Tablet Mount is a universal tablet mount that locks devices with a key. The Talon Mount first came into play when a hospital in Compton, California needed 500 tablet mounts. This hospital had bulletproof glass in the waiting room and had the type of environment where tablets would presumably have the highest risk of theft. After a year-long trial with the Talon Mount, no tablets were stolen.
They are not durable enough.
Hospitals receive an immense amount of traffic. Between patients, visitors, doctors, nurses and equipment, the risk of a tablet being accidentally dropped or knocked off a table is high. Tablets are not a high-cost product, but when they are being constantly being damaged and replaced, the dollars add up. The best way to protect iPads in hospitals is with the Talon Mount. It is durable, universal tablet mount that prevents both theft and damage.
They are difficult to disinfect.
The final common concern of using iPads in hospitals is keeping them sanitized. Research shows that over 1.7 million Americans per year leave the hospital with Hospital Acquired Infections. These infections can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections and infections at the surgical site. Doctors and nurses employ careful precautions to avoid spreading these pathogens, but can still inadvertently carry germs from room to room on the bottoms of their shoes, clothing or portable equipment -- such as tablets. With tablets roaming high-touch surfaces, it is no surprise that pathogens are easily being transferred from room to room and patient to patient. Many consumer-grade tablet mounts cannot withstand the abrasive cleaning supplies that hospitals use. However, the Talon Tablet Mount is build to combat harsh cleaning products, all while protecting the tablet and reducing the risk of infection.
Concerns about theft and damage to tablets are usually the first concern, followed by worries about keeping them sanitized to prevent the spread of germs. Fortunately, The Talon Tablet Mount provides a solution to all of these common concerns about using iPads in hospitals. If you are interested, we would love to provide you with a free sample.
It should be no surprise hospitals receive a lot of wear and tear. From emergencies to high amounts of traffic, damage is inevitable. Here is a compiled list of products that prevent damage in hospitals:
1. Cleanable Ribbon Pulls
A lot of hospitals still use cling, string, brad or ball chain and nylon cords for patient control of bed lights and nurse calls. These pulls cannot be disinfected, increasing the risk of pathogens being spread by staff, patients or visitors. Sanipull’s Cleanable Ribbon Pulls for over bed lights and nurse calls cleanable, functional and durable. Further, Sanipull’s innovative design protects light fixtures from over-force pull damage.
2. Magnetic Breakaway Nurse Call Cables
If you work with or around hospital beds, it is likely you have experienced a broken bed cable and/or damaged walls. When a cable breaks, it damages the cable and wall, which subsequently requires repair. Nurse call cables are not a high-cost product, but can be a huge headache for hospitals, which potentially creates high amounts of soft-dollar impact.
A solution for this problem is a breakaway nurse call cable. An even better solution is a magnetic breakaway nurse call cable: BlackJack.
With BlackJack, the risk of causing damage to the cable and wall are completely eliminated. It is made with 37 durable contacts that are individually spring-loaded, gold-plated and magnetically backed. Furthermore, BlackJack is compatible with all beds and nurse call systems, easy to use, possesses a 1-minute install, reduces patient falls, and ensures nurse call connectivity.
3. Door Protectors
The doors of high-traffic areas frequently endure kicking, pushing, slamming and scuffing. This daily abuse can result in costly maintenance and diminish your facility’s investment in high-quality doors. Inpro’s door frame guards, kick plates, door edge protectors, and door knob protectors are a few door protection products that can be tailored to safeguard your doors. Not only do door protectors prevent damage in hospitals, they do so without sacrificing style.
4. Wall Bumpers
Hospitals receive an immense amount of traffic. Between patients, visitors, doctors, medical equipment, food carts, and cleaning equipment, hospital walls face a heavy amount of abuse on a daily basis. Wall bumpers and guards prevent damage in hospitals by providing the first line of defense in high traffic areas. Using a product such as Wallguard’s wall guards, dramatically reduces the maintenance and repair expenses over time.
5. The Talon Tablet Mount
The multi-faceted functionality of tablets creates one of the most useful tools a hospital could implement. They combat patient boredom, improve patient satisfaction, provide education, help manage pain, and issue to patients meals and assistance. Whether hospital-issued or patient-owned, a tablet is a significant technology investment that deserves top-notch protection from harm and theft.
A couple of years ago, a hospital in Compton, California approached the CEO of HatchMed with a request of 500 tablet mounts. This hospital had bulletproof glass in the waiting room and had the kind of environment where a tablet could potentially receive the most abuse and run the highest risk of theft. After a year-long trial with the Talon Tablet Mount, no tablets were stolen or broken.
The Talon Tablet Mount is unlike any other mount because it puts a tablet where patients actually need it -- on the bed rail. With the Talon, tablets are within a patient's’ reach and can be easily lowered with the bed rail. It is lockable, durable, easy to use, and can withstand harsh cleaning solutions.
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Everyone can agree that nurses are essential to the success of the hospital, and now there’s a study to prove they are the most important contributing employee to the bottom line. They take the profession seriously and possess a high level of skills that allow them to deliver exceptional patient care. They conduct more than 100 tasks per shift, all while being interrupted every three minutes. The reality of being a nurse in today’s healthcare delivery system is overwhelming and seemingly impossible at times. Emotional exhaustion, physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder are common ailments our nurses are facing.
Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise or secret that nurses are overworked. This heightens the concern for organizations that depend on performance and results-driven reimbursement. Patient satisfaction and quality indicators, such as high HCAHPS scores, as well as reducing readmissions are some of the top priorities for hospitals across the country. These priorities make the task of delivering quality care harder for nurses to achieve -- let alone when paired with exhaustion.
Job dissatisfaction among nurses in hospitals contributes to costly labor disputes, high turnover rates and risk to patients. A federal government study found that nursing vacancies will reach 29 percent by 2020. The number of nurses is only expected to grow by six percent by 2020, while the demand for nurses is projected to increase by 40 percent. With the aging of the current nursing population and the general disinterest of young people to consider nursing as a profession, it is more critical than ever to focus on nurses’ job satisfaction.
Here are two ways hospitals can improve nurses’ satisfaction.
Overtime has a higher price tag than the burden it puts on labor costs. A study conducted by Health Affairs found a significant correlation between long work hours and nurse reports of burnout and job dissatisfaction. Furthermore, studies have found that patient satisfaction suffers when nurses work long hours. Patients were more likely to rate the hospital a 6 or lower on the HCAHPS survey when nurses worked shifts longer than 13 hours.
Reducing healthcare staff’s overtime is easier said than done. However, one option is to drive a fundamental culture change from overtime being the “rule” to it being the exception. If measures are implemented to reduce shift and workweek length, and guidelines are set for what is an acceptable amount of overtime, nurses won’t feel obligated to work extra hours.
Nurses cannot function in isolation, as their profession requires teamwork and effective communication. Five research studies, specifically focused on the influence of teamwork on job satisfaction, found that nurses with more interdisciplinary teamwork reported more satisfaction with their jobs planned to stay in them and had lower burnout scores. Not only do nurses report higher job satisfaction when they work as a team, patient satisfaction is also improved and patient care outcomes are met.
The bottom line? With more satisfied nurses and patients, an organization can look forward to repeat visits by patients, a higher quality of patient outcomes, lower mortality rates and lower levels of failure-to-rescue.
“Patients who have a better quality of care, they’re happy with their care, they are more likely to recommend the hospital to their friends and family,” says Matthew McHugh, PhD, RN. “It’s a win-win for everybody, really.”
According to a recent study published by John Hopkins Medicine, medical errors rank as the third leading cause of death in the U.S., just behind heart disease and cancer. It is clear that these mistakes, ranging from patient falls to medication errors, profoundly impact patient outcomes and mortality rates.
Here are five common patient care issues and tips on how your hospital can prevent them.
Slips, trips and falls are extremely common mistakes in hospitals. In fact, an average of 800,000 patient falls occur in the United States each year. This statistic is especially frightening because a patient fall costs $14,000 on average and can add over six days to each hospital stay.
Here are a couple of ways to prevent patient falls:
Ensure the nurse call cable is plugged in -- This will reduce the risk of patients getting up unassisted.
Identify high-risk patients -- Check for history of falls, impaired mobility, altered mental state and medications associated with falls.
Conduct hourly safety rounds -- Purposely checking in on patients on an hourly basis can reduce the risk of patient falls.
More than one million serious medication errors occur every year in U.S. hospitals. These errors include administration of the wrong drug, drug overdoses and overlooked allergies. Tejal Gandhi, president and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation stated, “There are many opportunities for a medication order to go wrong—it goes from a physician to a pharmacist, then to a nurse to administer it—and a mistake can happen somewhere along that chain.”
So, when it comes to keeping your patients safe, identify the right patient for the right medication, ask patients about their drug allergies, and employ technology, like Omnicell’s Automated Dispensing Cabinets, to improve medication safety and nurse efficiency.
Lack of Patient Education
Although we continue to improve systems and implement policies to reduce medication errors, many of these may fail unless we put the patient first. A study found that the largest contributor to medication errors is the lack of knowledge about other drugs and preparations the patient is taking, which can lead to negative interactions or overdoses. One way to improve patient education it through the implication of SONIFI Health’s patient education videos. In the end, empowering patients through education is vital, because only patients have the information required to prevent medication errors.
Poor communication is frustrating -- but in healthcare, communication breakdowns can be downright dangerous when it comes to patient care. Some ways to improve communication include encouraging participation in multidisciplinary rounds, instituting team huddles and implementing tablets for patient use. Improving communication benefits both patients and healthcare workers. Additionally, it makes the work environment less stressful and inspires teamwork!
Physicians can’t heal others if they themselves are not well. The safety of the workplace serves as a prerequisite for patient safety. This includes both physical and mental safety of all healthcare employees. A couple of ways to promote workplace safety? Create a positive work culture, practice healthy habits at work (e.g., group yoga and healthy snacks in the breakroom), and encourage comfortable, non-slip shoes for nurses, like Alegria’s Professional Collection. In the end, workers can only perform at their best when they are in an environment of physical and physiological safety.
Overall, keeping patients safe proves the top priority in healthcare. If we could prevent the five common patient care issues listed above, we will be taking a huge leap forward. The answers aren’t extremely complicated or expensive, but they do require focus and collaboration across a range of professionals involved in healthcare. Overall, preventing these problems will make medical care safer and a better experience in general.
Whether hospital-issued or patient-owned, a tablet is a significant technology investment that deserves top-notch protection from harm and theft.
Hospitalized patients generally have difficulty holding tablets because they may be too weak. Even if they are able, no one wants to hold a tablet for 3+ hours in order to watch their favorite movie. Additionally, patients may have issues positioning the tablet for comfortable viewing from a bed or chair. Both of these scenarios could lead to damaged or lost tablets. Common tablet protective covers or mounts may alleviate damage from drops, but they fall short when it comes to security, mounting ability, infection control, and charging abilities. Also, they tend to be brand-specific which leaves them incompatible with other devices.
These are just a few reasons why hospitals are looking for a more secure solution to keeping their devices protected. There are a couple of solutions that are available, but they aren’t compatible with every device and they don’t meet some medical standards, such as infection control, mounting ability, and charging ability.
Hospital rooms are constantly disinfected to meet healthcare protocol standards and reduce the risk of infection and contact germs. So, when it comes to product hygiene, anything a patient uses needs to be sanitized. Many consumer-grade tablet covers cannot withstand the abrasive cleaning materials that hospitals use. However, there is a tablet mount built to combat harsh cleaners, all while protecting the tablet and reducing the risk of infection- The Talon Tablet Mount. The Talon Mount eliminates the risk of cleaning products damaging tablets, while ensuring germs are not spread from one patient to another.
When providing a tablet for a patient, you would want it to be in the most convenient place possible for them. There are tablet mounts that attach to the wall, attach to overbed tables, and some that are simply freestanding. All of these options are not convenient for patients, not to mention hospital staff. Mounts that attach to the wall can clothesline nurses, mounts attached to overbed tables take up valuable space in small hospital rooms, and freestanding tablet protection poses a risk for theft and damage. The Talon Mount attaches to hospital bed rails, so it can be easily lowered with the bed rail in case of emergency. Most noteworthy, The Talon Mount puts tablets in the best place for the patients -- right in front of them.
All tablets require power to recharge the device’s battery. With The Talon, tablets can be charged while on the patient’s bed rail! Instead of needing to take a patient’s tablet in order to charge it, patients have access to the devices at any time of the day.
New versions of electronics are released every few months, which makes it difficult to provide a protective device that will work with future versions of tablets. Unless your facility wants to continuously purchase new gear to protect your tablets, invest in a device that is universally compatible with all devices -- like The Talon Tablet Mount.
Overall, the Talon Tablet Mount is the best device to protect hospital-owned tablets. It is cleanable, mounts to hospital bed rails, has the ability to be charged from the rail, and is universally compatible for all tablet types. We would love to send you a free sample of The Talon Tablet Mount -- we guarantee it will improve how your hospital uses tablets. Request a free sample here.