Healthcare technology is supposed to save time and effort for nurses, physicians and others who care for patients inside their hospitals. With so many different technologies working together and increasingly complex clinical workflows, we often end up with redundancy that creates more work and less efficiency. Staff assignments for secondary alarms, alerts and other notifications delivered to mobile communication devices are one area that historically has required time-consuming and redundant data entry at the start of every shift, demanding attention from staff that could otherwise be focused on patient care.1 Voalte alarm destinations can reduce the clinical, administrative and technical burden of the staff assignment process and related workflows.
Most hospitals are familiar with a centralized assignment model, which relies on a Unit Secretary or Charge RN entering assignments for all staff on their unit at the start of every shift. They may enter assignments in a number of different systems, such as their EMR, nurse call or middleware client. Often times, these assignment processes are not integrated, resulting in a duplicative effort for each system.
The assignment itself usually involves identifying clinical staff and their associated extensions with roles and locations inside the unit. Simple, right? The problem is, nothing stays the same for very long in the dynamic hospital environment. Patients get transferred to different units, and nurses are reassigned to new rooms, roles or teams. So even if assignments are carefully configured at the start of a shift, it’s difficult to keep them accurate throughout the day or night. That means nurses could receive alerts that don’t pertain to them, which is not only inefficient but contributes to alarm fatigue. In some worst-case scenarios, outdated assignments can prevent critical and emergency alerts from reaching the right staff.
Voalte alarm destinations provide an alternative, decentralized self-assignment model. Instead of sending alarms and alerts to user extensions, alarms are sent directly to the roles, locations and teams in the Voalte Directory. This means those other upstream systems no longer need to worry about which user has which extension, and can send the alarm or alert to static addresses representing the roles, locations and teams inside the hospital.
It all starts with the self-assignment workflow each caregiver completes when he or she logs in to their Voalte smartphone at the start of a shift. A few quick taps on the screen, and nurses and other caregivers easily select their units, roles and teams. When something changes mid-shift, they can make an on-the-fly adjustment that is reflected immediately in the Voalte Directory with a few simple taps. There is no need to have a Unit Secretary or Charge RN enter or update staff assignments, and each staff member is empowered to ensure their status and assignments are accurate and up-to-date with a few taps on their smartphone.
When Voalte becomes the “assignment source of truth,” you no longer need to retain accurate and updated lists of users and extensions in the other integrated systems for alarms and alerts, which reduces the burden on clinical and IT staff. Without costly assignment clients or hard to implement and maintain assignment-sharing schemes, your hospital can focus on improving the lives of patients and their caregivers.
Voalte alarm destinations are supported on Voalte Server version 3.4 and later. For more information on how to change the way you think about alarm management, please contact the Voalte Clinical Workflow Solutions team.
James Smith is a Clinical Integration Consultant at Voalte, Inc.
- Rosenberger JM, Buckley Green D, Keeling B, Turpin PG, Zhang JM (2004) Optimizing nurse assignment.