Everyday emergencies — whether during a crisis or calmer times — can wreak havoc on hospital operations, patient experience, and reimbursements. That’s especially true as we navigate the lingering effects of a pandemic that won’t go away anytime soon.
A while ago, we were contacted by a local hospital serving more than 50 counties in Indiana — we’ll call them “Apex Health” to respect their privacy. Nurse managers at Apex, part of one of the largest health systems in the nation, spent up to four hours daily making calls to fill open shifts.
The hospital also struggled with excessive noise levels as it used its overhead paging system for non-emergency announcements, pages and messages critical to daily operations.
So Apex came to us to:
- Reduce the excessive time and effort spent trying to fill open nursing shifts.
- Limit the use of the overhead paging system for emergencies only.
- Reduce noise levels, increase patient satisfaction, HCAHPS scores and reimbursement levels.
We then got to work, aiming to leverage the hospital’s existing technology as much as possible to reduce costs, and automating functions to ease staff workload. Our steps included:
- Implementation of an automated, staff-by-phone system for nurses.
- Small LED signage and virtual PA to offer a silent, visual way to communicate routine, non-emergency messages.
- Fire panel integration.
- TAP interface with the nurse call system and Simplex hard-wired buttons in the NICU.
- Patient satisfaction kiosk integration.
- POE audiovisual displays with high-intensity flashers, a speaker, sound meter and screen to scroll automated “Please be quiet” messages.
- PC alert pop-ups for silent mass communications to virtually 20,000 workstations across facilities.
The outcome was significant. Results included:
- Fewer announcement and less noise over the PA system. Routine information is now communicated via small LED scrolling signs.
- The automated staff-by-phone system has eliminated hours of workload each day, and the need to manually fill shifts.
- Faster nurse responses and fewer unfilled shifts.
- Silent and immediate notification from patient rooms to staff with integrated hard-wire and wireless panic buttons.
- Lower noise levels, with evidence to show sound-monitoring technology has changed staff behavior, increased patient satisfaction and HCAHPS scores.
- Staff buy-in and trust in the technology’s swift and positive impact on daily routines.
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