Burnout among physicians and clinicians is a serious problem. According to a recent American Medical Association article, it can cost a healthcare organization anywhere from $500,000 to more than $1 million to replace a burned-out physician. Similarly, a 2018 survey by NSI Nursing Solutions of 3,000 U.S. hospitals found the average cost of turnover for a bedside registered nurse to be $49,500, with the average hospital losing $4.4 to $7 million to nurse turnover annually.
And that’s just the financial side. According to multiple studies, burnout negatively impacts quality of care, contributing to medical errors, increased patient mortality, poorer patient outcomes, longer recovery times and decreased patient satisfaction. While the causes are myriad, both the AMA and ECRI are focusing on technology solutions to help ease the crisis. The following are a few illustrations of how integrating a communication platform with other clinical systems can help.
- Nurse call notifications. When Frisbie Memorial Hospital replaced pagers, legacy phones and overhead paging with Voalte smartphones, unit coordinators were able to instantly send nurse call notifications directly to the appropriate nurse’s smartphone, eliminating the delay and disruption of overhead paging and call-backs. Pre- and post-implementation studies showed an increase in both staff and patient satisfaction. Read the case study.
- Care team coordination. At Avera Health, the ability to assign roles in the Voalte Directory has proven vital. “When nurses and support staff are assigned to rooms, physicians can immediately identify and communicate directly with the bedside care team,” says Candice Friestad, Avera Health Assistant VP of Clinical Informatics. “And because physicians can assign themselves to patients, or roles or teams, anyone on the care team can quickly and efficiently reach the proper physician.” Learn more.
- Alarm filtering. In 2015, after Akron Children’s Hospital switched its NICU to a smartphone-integrated alarm and alert system, each nurse was receiving an average of 70 clinical alarms per patient, per day—a level that could easily lead to alarm fatigue, which could in turn affect patient outcomes. Data analysis showed that 90 percent of NICU alarms were related to oxygen saturation, and 80 percent of those alarms were for low SpO2. Delaying the transmission of SpO2 alarms by 30 to 45 seconds decreased total alarms by 57 percent, with no change in patient outcomes. Read the case study.
- Integrated physician scheduling. By making physician schedules accessible via Voalte Platform, University of Kentucky HealthCare has helped care teams reach providers more quickly via secure text message. Before integration, the average time to reach a provider was over 8 minutes. Post-integration, that time decreased to 1 minute, for an average savings of more than 7 minutes per outreach, reclaiming up to 40 minutes per day, per staff member.
- Improved clinical workflows. When University of Washington’s Valley Medical Center implemented a new EHR mobile app and upgraded to Voalte Platform for clinical communication, the new medication administration workflow improved patient safety. Nurses can now set their presence to Busy and add a custom status message in Voalte One indicating they are “Administering meds” to avoid unnecessary interruptions and focus on the task at hand. Pre-implementation, the hospital had 2.92 errors per month on its Renal Respiratory Unit. Post-implementation, errors dropped to 2.25 per month, a 23 percent improvement. Read the case study.
With burnout rates at about 44 percent among physicians, and up to 70 percent of nurses reporting feeling burned out, it’s clear something needs to be done. Contact us to learn how a communication platform can ease burnout at your health system.