Healthcare Technology: What makes the biggest impact on providers and the patients they serve?
For better or worse, technology is inescapable! Within the healthcare space, it has dramatically changed the way we all work, receive care, and share vital information across various facilities and specialties. Hospitals and their IT decision-makers are under enormous pressure right now to keep pace with ever-changing tech tools in the face of continuing staff shortages and the unceasing need for quality patient care. So, it makes sense that the best technology investments are those that accomplish double duty, helping to recruit nurses while also improving their ability to administer care. If you agree, then the next logical question is, what’s the best way to narrow down the options and ultimately choose?
To put it simply, nursing today is more challenging than ever. Most RNs are charged with caring for more and sicker patients—all while tasked with handling copious amounts of reporting documentation. Covid burnout marked a tipping point for so many professionals, causing them to leave the industry or reassess what they really need to make their jobs worth doing. With all of this in mind, hospitals must compete for top talent. To recruit the very best, facilities need to evaluate what they’re offering—everything from higher compensation to schedule flexibility to technology that truly makes their teams' jobs easier. According to a study done by Ascom, nearly 60% of nurses say that a hospital’s suite of technology tools is an important factor in deciding whether to take a job and 88 percent rate technology as at least somewhat important in the decision. More specifically, nurses report that they want technology tools that:
- Make them more efficient by reducing their steps, redundancies, and time to administering care,
- Help them focus more on direct patient care,
- Integrate more information from patient systems into one centralized source,
- Promote flexibility with capabilities for reconfiguring/changing to fit new ways of working,
- Safeguard against mistakes—with smart barcodes, cameras, etc.
In a profession where doing more with less is all in a day’s work, highly qualified nurses will choose employers who make on-the-job satisfaction a priority through technology that delivers these benefits.
Adding technology just for the sake of being on the cutting edge isn’t going to benefit your organization, your workforce or your patients. The smartest investments will be ones that work together to improve both safety and workflow. According to a Forbes study, up to 17% of all hospitalizations were affected by one or more adverse events, and of those, up to 70% were potentially avoidable. It is in every facility's best interest to reduce preventable codes, falls, and extended stays. Workflow optimization technology could help reduce preventable codes by up to 10%.
Clinical workflow solutions that integrate nurse call, software and mobile, devices such as the ones from Ascom, can help improve nursing efficiency by sending designated alerts to the assigned care team. This automation can help nurses work at the top of their license and improve satisfaction. These solutions can also integrate with other connected medical devices to enable more proactive care through intelligent filtering and alarming, such as early warning scoring that helps predict a deterioration in a patient’s condition.
Hospital IT staff and those in charge of purchasing decisions should be mindful of where and how technology fits into workflows. The addition of an Automatic Dispensing Cabinet (ADC) on a patient floor, for example, might provide multiple benefits to nurses and patients alike. Because they offer quick access to essential medications, nurses can administer controlled substances without having to wait for the pharmacy to deliver pain medication, thus avoiding unnecessary suffering for patients and their families during highly stressful times. On top of that, barcode scanning and other ADC features that ensure correct dosing help improve safety and reduce medication errors.
Mobile point-of-care carts give nurses access to vital patient data right at the bedside. Height adjustability offers nurses the flexibility to sit or stand while working. Well-appointed models help enhance on-the-job satisfaction for hospital nurses who visit room after room thanks to ergonomic features and reliable maneuverability through busy hallways, over uneven surfaces, and in tight spaces.
On the other hand, mobile carts aren’t always the best solution. Some healthcare environments are better suited to mounting systems that place monitors, keyboards, and other equipment within easy reach via movable/adjustable arms.
Put simply, the right technology choices depend on how key staff members will be using them. That’s why it’s imperative that decisions include input from nurses who are actually working the floors and a partnership with a vendor whose portfolio of solutions is wide enough to offer you flexible options. This is the best way to ensure the right technology investments are made, helping you reach the goal of the Quadruple Aim—reduced costs, better patients outcomes, and higher patient and nurse satisfaction. Carefully considered and thoughtfully chosen, high-tech equipment will deliver benefits that reverberate across the entire health system, fostering better outcomes and overall wellness for both patients and staff.
At TouchPoint Medical, we offer options for most EMR and clinical use cases. When you have standardization in your environment, you can reduce clinician errors and provide convenient access to charting and the integration of patient data. Our products are easy to use for IT/Biomeds as well as clinicians. With TPM, you can deploy products that are safe to use and meet infection control requirements. For more information on how TouchPoint Medical can partner with you to recommend the most effective technology for your healthcare environment, reach out to us for a free consultation.