Ascom’s Healthcare platform is specifically designed to address these kinds of issues. Let’s take a deeper look at the greatest pain points and systemic opportunities in current clinical care settings.
The study told us that nurses are experiencing data overload, and that data isn’t always in real-time or easy to interpret.
A system that automatically collects and aggregates data and displays it in real time would help ease some of the burdens on staff. This would then become a single source of information, which provides greater context and allows for better decision-making, reporting and improvements.
Nurses are overwhelmed by the constant barrage of alerts and alarms, which leads to alarm fatigue. This means it’s difficult for nurses to filter out the most important alerts, prioritise, coordinate with team members and respond appropriately to critical events.
The situation is vastly improved when an alarm management solution is installed that can sort and redirect actionable patient alerts to appropriate team members (while creating an audit log with a history of alerts and events for reporting purposes).
Healthcare workers are experiencing cognitive overload on several fronts. Part of this overload is caused by needing to perform certain tasks manually while analysing raw data and applying expertise in assessing a patient’s situation.
Predictive analytics can assist by analysing both real-time and retrospective EHR data for patients at risk of critical events (such as sepsis, hospital-acquired infection, sentinel cardiac events, respiratory depression and falls) and providing insights.
A component of this is dashboards, which can be strategically distributed throughout care units, and handsets carried by team members to enable them to receive information and alerts wherever they are in the unit. A colour-coded light system indicates the severity of alerts. Predictive analytics is helpful to nursing supervisors (who receive real-time updates for the entire unit), the care team, doctors (who can review trends in patient data) and biomedical engineers (for equipment maintenance purposes).
Mobile devices and unified communications
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are constantly on the move. They need smartphones that are both sophisticated and offer an integrated workflow solution.
A unified communications system creates greater presence, availability and multimodal communication among teams. Ascom purpose-built smartphones generate actionable notifications (both visually and audibly) and provide access to real-time patient data and retrospective EHR information.
Case in point: Sengkang General Hospital
Sengkang General Hospital in Singapore is an 800-bed, state-of-the-art hospital that sits on a healthcare campus with a 400-bed rehabilitation centre. The two facilities opened in 2019 and feature cutting-edge technology — but they needed to simplify and streamline their communications within the clinical care team.
The hospital had different systems for patient alerts, nurse calls, workflow stations and Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and the lack of integration put them at risk of technical and administrative errors.
The business enlisted Ascom’s help and selected various interoperable elements from the Ascom Healthcare Platform — including software, services, hardware and handsets — and integrate them. Ascom Telligence, which has now been installed at both hospitals, goes beyond standard nurse call systems and is what we call a ‘Patient Response System’. Nurses now receive alerts and requests (for example, water, pain medication, extra blankets and so on) directly to their individual handsets or nursing stations, which allows for greater productivity and coordination. This kind of seamless workflow is especially important in times of healthcare worker shortages.
Ascom Intelligence’s interoperability with other systems contributes to an even more seamless workflow. The Sengkang facilities are equipped with both Ascom Telligence and Ascom Myco smartphones. Ascom Telligence workflow stations are also used to streamline tasks such as patient rounding, admissions, discharging, housekeeping and bed schedule.
“We are pleased to be working with the Ascom Telligence nurse call system,” says Lee Puay Chuan, Deputy Director of Strategic Projects at Sengkang General Hospital. “... Its integration with various enterprise applications is helping us achieve greater workflow coordination and staff productivity.”
Engaging a third-party vendor such as Ascom can help operationalise your critical care setting by:
- Creating a vision and strategy for patient data and alarm management and identifying requirements, goals and metrics.
- Forming an interdisciplinary team that includes nurses, doctors, ancillary staff, IT, biomedical engineers and finance.
- Assessing clinical and technological infrastructure by cataloguing different alarms, priorities and response protocols, identifying gaps in key clinical workflows and evaluating what’s needed for better integration.
Our 2019 research study, conducted by Spyglass Consulting Group, explored some of the challenges encountered by modern hospitals and the ways in which patient data and alarm management solutions can help alleviate stressors and create a better experience for both patients and staff. The research was conducted before the pandemic, and most hospitals are experiencing greater strain in the wake of Covid. Surveys were performed in the United States, but many of the same challenges and opportunities apply in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s no secret that hospitals have been struggling with staff shortages and overload — even before the pandemic came along. Ascom’s White Paper, which was published in 2019 and is based on survey results gathered in the United States, details some of the main issues encountered by hospital staff — and some of the technological solutions that can help.