March 6th, 2014
I had the privilege to speak at the Florida Association of Enterostomal Therapists (FAET) conference last week in Gainesville, Florida. The event’s organizers did a commendable job of bringing together nurses from throughout the state to explore the themes: Unmasking Mysteries of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Care, and Discovering the Role of the WOC Clinician in Team Building.
I was inspired by many of the stories other speakers shared related to coaching nursing staff, helping patients in the community, and managing specific events in their respective hospitals. Staff engagement and skilled communication were hot topics, with clear connections to the AACN’s Healthy Work Environment standards. I couldn’t help but relate these discussions to the importance of building a strong Mobile Communication Strategy.
The hyper-connected hospital environment makes it essential to link the right people with the right information at the right time. Wound and Ostomy nurses in particular work with an overwhelming number of clinicians on a daily basis, so they need an easy way to connect with physicians, physical therapists, nurses, surgeons and care managers.
As the first component of a complete Mobile Communication Strategy, connecting caregivers inside the hospital can be accomplished effectively with Voalte One™. Using shared smartphones, caregivers connect with each other, receive alarms and alerts, and even access electronic medical records and barcode scanners, all on one device.
At last week’s FAET conference, my presentation on “Teambuilding in the 21st Century: Practices to Achieve Healthcare Outcomes” identified ways to provide effective communication, collaboration and alignment strategies. Introducing intrinsic motivators, a culture of ownership and inspiration that starts with being inspired yourself were a few of the primary messages I discussed with this highly engaged group. We closed the discussion with the top ten attributes of high-performing teams and measures of success.
Remember, it takes everyone to provide the best possible care and experience. Please recognize the work of our Wound and Ostomy nurses and the difference they make every day. I’d love to hear from you too. Please post a comment below on how you work to keep the teamwork alive in your hospital.
February 11th, 2014
Last week’s American Nurses Association Quality Conference opened with a warm and inspiring welcome from Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, President of the ANA, followed by a wonderful presentation from Dr. Lucian Leape, a pioneer in the field of patient safety. Dr. Leape shared his insights and facts related to healthcare work environments. His ability to illuminate a culture of respect and care for patients and one another was moving. Dr. Leape reminded us of the impact nurses, physicians and staff working together have on the lives of the people we serve.
Incorporating the work of Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, and the three intrinsic motivators of autonomy, self-mastery and purpose, Dr. Leape reminded us of the interdependence that exists in healthcare today. He asked us to reflect on the work of Rosabeth Moss Kanter and her famous insight, to think outside the box, one must first know what is in the box, then start to “think outside the building.” We can continue to make a difference through culture and practice, and make healthcare safe in all areas of care delivery.
I participated in a session on the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which provided a good reminder of the impact a few people can have on safety and quality. Cultural leadership paints the picture of a better healthcare future, staff engagement, and even small acts of creative transgressions and the use of ethnography to continue to shape our healthcare delivery system. It was curious to hear Christine Goeshel, ScD, MPA, MPS, RN, FAAN, assert that creative transgressions are healthy and worthy of recognition, because these are the people who will push disruptive innovation to the forefront.
The plenary session with the amazingly talented Patricia Brennan, PhD, RN, gave a profound view of the work she and her colleagues have done to improve care delivery with the use of technology. She put forth the idea that we must harness the power of technology as a building block to quality of care, and eloquently distinguished point-of-health from point-of-care. She shared powerful stories about the use of tablets and smartphones to connect the healthcare team and overall care. I was reminded again that we have smart patients who will continue to challenge us and make us a stronger, healthcare-conscious nation.
It was wonderful speaking with Nancee Hofmeister, RN, MSN, NE-BC, Chief Nursing Officer of Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Washington. I enjoyed hearing about her journey from Magnet Coordinator to Epic Coordinator to CNO, and her genuine passion for patient care, staff engagement and the pursuit of education. Between sessions, I had a chance to speak with Gerri Lamb, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Arizona State University College of Nursing, and I was moved by her passion, warmth and strong desire to share her work on interprofessional communication with the healthcare community. Her book, Care Coordination: The Game Changer, is a reminder of her passion to continue to educate all of us on excellence in care coordination. She is a role model for all of us, and I will continue to follow Dr. Lamb and look forward to her future teachings.
The poster presentations were stunning, and hearing nurses share their incredible quality outcomes was humbling. They found excellent ways to incorporate technology to improve patient and family engagement and communication. We even discussed the revolutionary idea of using smartphones for families to communicate with caregivers and improve the experience for loved ones waiting and wondering about their family members.
Nurses who stopped by the Voalte booth had a chance to share their journey with electronic medical records (EMR), and discuss their Mobile Communication Strategy. We met with Quality Nurses, Bedside Nurses, Nursing Educators, ED Directors, Perioperative Leaders, Wound Care Nurses, CNOs, and many more nurses who are leading care delivery changes. Their smiling faces and strong sense of leading care at the bedside were remarkable.
If you were at the ANA Quality Conference in Phoenix, please post a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!
February 7th, 2014
Back when I was a surgical ICU nurse in the ’80s, “doctors orders” involved a physician giving verbal orders to a nurse while walking down the hallway: “Hang Dopamine 400 mg in 500 ml’s of D5W to patient in room 12!”
Then in the ’90s, concerns about quality of care and reducing medical errors led to a push for all orders to be in writing. The paper chart bulged with a historical record of each patient’s care. And nurses became expert interpreters of doctors’ notoriously poor penmanship.
Boy, have times changed.
Today, physicians order diagnostic tests and medications electronically. Nurses use workstations on wheels for electronic charting, and barcode scanners for patient identification and medication administration. At more than 35 hospitals throughout the country, nurses are using Voalte smartphones to send text messages to team members and coordinate care with lab technicians, pharmacists and therapists. Previously, nurses would call, page or roam the hallways trying to find the person or information they needed. By texting, they get an almost immediate response.
Now we’re preparing for even bigger changes. The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal NPSG.01.01.01 calls for positive patient identification, NPSG.02.03.01 requires improved staff communication, and NPSG.06.01.01 requires alarms management assessment. Meaningful Use requirements mandate that hospitals track 10 percent of medication orders electronically. As a result, electronic medical records (EMRs) and enhanced communication solutions will inevitably affect the next big change in clinical work practices.
While the changes are staggering, the importance of delivering safe, quality patient care remains constant. I consider myself lucky to have participated in the journey from verbal to written to electronic communication in healthcare, and I look forward to upcoming clinical workflow innovations that will continue to strengthen teamwork and support among caregivers and providers. I’m sure you also have seen many changes over the years. Post a comment now – I’d love to hear from you.
For more on how electronic medical records can impact clinical workflow, see our latest white paper, “EMR & BCMA: 5 steps to extend your smartphones’ reach.”
January 7th, 2014
It’s not only a new year for me, but also a new beginning. January marks my first month as Chief Nursing Officer of Voalte. It’s a perfect time to look back on my 27-year career as a nurse and look forward to the new opportunity I have to help improve patient care through mobile communication strategies.
I started my career as a surgical ICU nurse at a Level 1 trauma center in Buffalo, New York. In that environment it was easy to see how communication delays can impact patient safety and quality of care. Later, as Nursing Director of a 30-bed operating room department, I experienced first-hand how communication breakdowns result in a lag time between analysis, transfer and care, and how these preventable delays come at a high cost to hospitals and, more importantly, to patient care delivery.
With the tremendous changes in healthcare, most hospitals are implementing quality and safety initiatives that connect the latest medical advances with a range of communication functions. Managing alarms, connecting physicians seamlessly with other clinicians, and working toward real-time patient care are just a few of the challenges hospitals are addressing to improve care, meet governmental mandates and ensure payment is directly related to value and high quality care.
Here at Voalte, I’m looking forward to facilitating strong relationships between IT and Clinical departments at our customer hospitals. I’ll be helping our customers pinpoint where mobile communication strategies can help improve patient care, and how they tie in with each hospital’s quality and safety initiatives.
Voalte has a huge opportunity to make a difference in the world of care delivery, and I’m excited to be part of the team that’s making it happen. The culture here is wonderful, the people are talented and smart, and the entire staff has a strong vision and mission to advance the healthcare industry. And let’s face it, I love the pink colors that set us apart from everyone else.
Look for me in my pink scrubs at Voalte Booth 321 at the American Nurses Association Quality Conference February 5 through 7 in Phoenix. I’d love to talk to you about how Voalte alternatives can help promote a culture of quality care and patient safety at your facility.
December 4th, 2013
What is the secret to success? To some it is a winning lottery ticket, to others hard work and perseverance, but we believe that for hospital clinicians the secret to success is smartphones! Our devices make a difference. We are not yet able to empirically measure the impact of our solution on safety, satisfaction and outcomes, but we see the anecdotal evidence on the faces of our users and the comments that come in every day. Our phones are now assisting nurses in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Florida, Alabama, New Hampshire and Texas (to name a few). They are in the heartland of Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan. Hundreds more phones are being deployed every week across the nation.
Communication success is critical to safe patient care. Delays, miscommunication and endless searches for equipment or other caregivers open the door for errors. Noisy pages, alarms and ringing phones upset patients and distract nurses during critical processes such as medication administration or documentation. Phone tag and unnecessary caregiver touch points can undermine efficiency, especially in critical workflows like ED throughput and patient discharges. These delays impact the bottom line, and that line is pretty thin these days! It is critical to get nurses back to the bedside (our sources estimate that 53 percent of nurses’ time is spent away from patient care).
The Hospital Communication Success Kit pulls it all together, giving technology decision-makers an upgrade jumpstart!