This year’s AONE annual meeting had a whole new vibe, and it wasn’t only due to the name change. The 52-year-old association has rebranded itself as the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL) to more accurately reflect the diversity of its 9,800 members and their role in leading healthcare transformation. At past conferences, nursing leaders were interested in voice and text communication for their nursing staff, but many said their hospitals were unwilling to fund a switch to smartphones.
This year, I felt a definite shift, as nursing leaders who visited the Voalte booth said the ability to integrate a communication platform with other essential systems is making it easier to get the tools they need. By integrating with the electronic health record, streamlining complex clinical workflows, and replacing wired technologies like workstations on wheels (WOWs), smartphones are playing a critical role as hospitals and health systems embrace a mobile future. Nursing leaders emphasize that these integrations provide a huge opportunity to improve patient care.
Now that Voalte is part of Hill-Rom, technology integrations that deliver actionable insights to caregivers will be even more powerful. In one example cited in a poster presentation at last week’s event, patients are benefiting from the WatchCare Incontinence Management System, which can be integrated with the Hill-Rom Centrella® Smart+ bed and works in conjunction with NaviCare® Nurse Call to deliver timely notifications to clinicians when a patient experiences an incontinence event. One study showed the previous exposure time of 56 minutes was reduced dramatically to an average of 9 minutes. With notifications sent directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone, the nurse caring for a particular patient can get to the room quickly, change soiled clothing and linens, and decrease the risk of wounds or skin breakdown.
In another important shift, many nursing leaders I met in San Diego said their nursing staff is now more open to adopting smartphones for clinical communication. Where there was previously some resistance to change, today’s nurses are very comfortable using smartphones in their personal lives. It’s only natural that tech-savvy clinicians want the same ease of use and functionality on the job as well. With a smartphone, they don’t have to track down a WOW or constantly refresh their computer screen to see the latest orders. They can receive notifications based on early warning systems, sepsis alerts, orders and lab results without logging in to multiple systems. And the entire care team can receive the same notifications, supporting a multidisciplinary approach that will improve care collaboration, patient care and outcomes.
With healthcare going through so many transitions, it’s good to see some positive outcomes and feel some good vibes from the nurses who are helping lead the way.
Dana Peco, MSN, BSN, CCRN, is Clinical Solutions Specialist at Voalte.