2. August 2012 10:13
What can we do to reduce noise? There are many attempts to reduce noise in hospitals. Reducing noise should improve the patient experience and improve HCAHP scores. Just as important and a bi-product of noise is patient anxiety! Patients unexpectedly find themselves in a new setting, away from home, facing the unknown in the form of a health condition, unfamiliar with their surroundings or the routine. Activity going on all around them that they do not understand:
What are all these alarms for? Did someone die? Are they for me?
Why does the nurse keep leaving my room to talk on the phone? Is it my doctor? Why don't they want me to hear?
They are always getting calls when they are treating me and leaving the room.
Are they understaffed? If I need assistance, will it be available?
That's a new alarm sound! What does it mean? I don't see any nurses anywhere? What is going on?
Why is this machine attached to me beeping? What does it mean? Am I taking a turn for the worst? Should I call my nurse? Where are they?
I wish my doctor would call. I asked the nurse to notify him I'm having a new pain. The nurse says they can't do anything without the doctor's approval. When will they contact him? Why hasn't he got back to them? Can't they call him again?
Why didn't the nurse answer her phone when she was in my room? Maybe it was my doctor?
Too often caregivers and the communication tools they are given only add to the anxiety.
Alarms all sounding the same and difficult to differentiate their urgency are heard throughout every hospital unit. Nurses go home exhausted from alarm fatigue. Patients lay in bed awakened at all hours of the day and night with anxiety at what the cacophony of alarms and other noises mean.
Nurses are provided phones as the main tool to communicate with other caregivers, departments, and doctors. Unfortunately HIPAA requires they do not talk of clinical matters in front of a patient. The phone causes numerous interruptions for nurses treating patients requiring they leave the room. If they do not answer the phone alternate strategies of overhead paging, and attempts to find them take over.
Today's technology offers many other solutions:
Alarm management tools can make sense of the numerous disjointed devices producing the cacophony of alarm noise.
Sophisticated nurse text messaging (similar to what is available on smartphones) can eliminate 78% of ringing telephone calls, almost all overhead paging and the potential for missed patient requests.
When looking to reduce noise, consider improving patient anxiety as well. It will more than give you justification and urgency to proceed and result in a better environment for all.
30. July 2012 13:54
So, we all hate going to the doctor’s office for one reason or another, whether it’s because it’s not fun being sick, you hate needles, or it’s just a pain to take time out of your busy schedule. One of my biggest pet peeves is walking into my doctor’s office, checking in with the receptionist, filling out any necessary paperwork (which is normally about fifteen pages) and then you sit. You sit and wait for what seems like a lifetime, not knowing if you will be next or if the eight people sitting there along with you will be called back before you. No one gives you any idea of a time frame on how long you will be there. Everyone has his or her face buried in a magazine and not much conversation is had.
Well, all of that is about to change. Close your eyes and picture this. You enter through large wooden doors into a beautiful lobby area. Directly in front of you is a peaceful and serene waterfall. To your right is a big screen TV that takes up the entire wall. Right next to this is a cheerful chef making delicious chocolate chip cookies or a healthy chicken salad. A smiling face then greets you and introduces himself or herself as a member of the Life Guide team.
A Life Guide meets patients immediately upon entering the clinic and redirects them to a decentralized check-in area. This private, more intimate area allows patients to feel like their visit is one-on-one. The Life Guide helps with any paperwork and gives a brief tour of the clinic, and when the caregiver is ready, the Life Guide escorts the patient to a procedure room. No longer are patients sitting in a lobby, waiting and wondering how long it will be until they are seen by a caregiver. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Now open your eyes because this is the reality at one group of forward-thinking clinics. I recently went to a newly opened Mosaic Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri for a site visit, and as I was introducing new Voalte users to the solution, I kept asking myself, “What is this Life Guide position all about?” I learned that Life Guides are there to make patients feel as though they are not just numbers. Life Guides are welcoming, caring, and compassionate, and they help guide patients through the sometimes confusing and frustrating process of obtaining healthcare services. Most traditional clinics can make us feel like we’re trapped in the “hurry up and wait” game. We are checked in and paperwork is pushed through and we are left to wonder whether we will be there for ten minutes, one hour or half a day. In Kansas City, the status quo is no longer good enough. At Mosaic clinics, you, the patient, are the main priority from the moment you walk through those doors, and we all know there is no better feeling in the world than when someone makes you feel special. Inarguably, Life Guides are playing a critical role in solidly establishing Mosaic as a leader in this movement towards more comprehensive, personalized service. Nationwide clinics take note. We’re your patients, your customers, and THIS is what we want!
20. June 2011 16:11
As a Voalté project manager, I’m able to see and experience quite a bit when going through hospital installations and upgrades. Funny part is that no matter how many times I go through either, the experiences vary every time.
We commonly joke by saying, “Once you’ve seen one hospital install, you’ve seen one hospital install”. Truth is - no hospital is the same and therefore we shouldn’t expect units to be the same either.
An ER at Sarasota Memorial Hospital operates much differently from either a step-down unit in the same hospital or the ER at Heartland Health in St. Joseph, Missouri. That’s where the communication component plays such a critical role. From my experience, building in communication with leaders of each unit can go a long way in making sure a roll-out goes as smoothly as possible.
Getting clinicians involved from the start of the project helps build user acceptance and guarantee project success. Not only does the clinical team act as cheerleaders for the project - aiding buy-in from users that are less apt to accept change or may be technophobic - they also add valuable insight on how to shape the solution to the needs of the hospital and clinicians.
The concept is quite simple. Why buy tools for others to use without their involvement? It’s like having someone else buy you shoes without asking you what size you wear and how you plan to use them - to walk or to run.
How is your hospital bridging the healthcare communication gap?