Is your hospital planning a major renovation or new construction? If so, now is the time to upgrade from traditional communication systems to a solution that drives workflow to fit the new design.
Today’s hospital construction projects focus on the patient experience, transitioning from shared to private rooms and expanding units to larger physical layouts. These changes can help create a quieter environment and better accommodate patient families, but the new geographic layouts cause some new challenges as well.
Traditional unit design revolved around a central nursing station, where nurses could stand in the middle of the unit and see every patient room. Nurse call lights were easily visible, and fellow nurses could be tracked down quickly in the small space.
Today’s modern facilities are moving away from central nursing stations, and transitioning to a decentralized model that provides a more patient-centric environment. This model also creates more distance between caregivers. Patient assignments are coordinated based on patient acuity, isolation and other factors, rather than geographically grouping all of a nurse’s patients in one area of the unit. Also, medical supplies may be stored some distance from patient rooms, and may require new processes.
The result can be chaos, with nurses walking longer distances to care for the same number of patients, spending more time tracking down support staff and supplies, and struggling to communicate efficiently with other caregivers.
The culmination of all those challenges points to the need for a Mobile Communication Strategy that will assist with the change management process inherent in any renovation or construction project. Equipping nurses and other members of the care team with smartphones the first day they move into a new facility gives them a way to locate each other easily, find the equipment they need, report issues with a procedure that may not be working, and get answers quickly.
At Frisbie Memorial Hospital, an 88-bed, acute-care community hospital in New Hampshire, the staff quickly realized that a new $30 million expansion and renovation caused some unexpected challenges. The Medical-Surgical Unit doubled in size, while the Women and Children’s Unit area tripled. Caregivers covered a much larger area while assisting the same number of patients.
In this new environment, the old communication solution of pagers, legacy phones and overhead paging simply wasn’t working. It was time to move away from decades-old communication technologies, and empower caregivers with smartphones. (Read the case study to find out how smartphones improved caregiver communication at Frisbie Memorial.)
New construction can be exciting and challenging. Be sure your modern facility has the most efficient and updated communication technologies your entire staff will need.
Jesse Olsen is Area Sales Manager at Voalte.