Medical Device Integration Blog

Avoid Workflow Blisters

Posted by Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN

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on Dec 04, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

When it comes to the sensible clogs (that so many of us choose for walking long hospital hallways and standing for hours at a time), fit and comfort are the two most important considerations. Shouldn’t the same be true for the technology that supports our professional workflow? Just like footwear, one size does not fit all. So, before introducing new medical technology, wouldn’t it be a good idea for everyone involved in the project to walk a mile in a clinician’s shoes?

Medical Device Integration (MDI) is a case in point.

Across the hospital, physicians, nurses and techs depend on the patient data being captured by advanced medical devices. MDI solutions automate the data acquisition directly from medical devices which saves precious staff hours. The data is sent over the hospital network right to the electronic medical record (EMR).

Ideally, regardless of the care environment, MDI should eliminate waste and non-value activities such unnecessary note taking, keystrokes, and extra mouse clicks that rob a nurse of valuable time that could be used in observation and surveillance. Those clicks can pinch your time pretty hard—like a pair of ill-fitting shoes.

The trick is to implement an MDI solution that puts caregivers in front of technology in optimal ways that increase productivity, eliminate time wasted on manual charting, reduce possible charting errors, and enhance the existing workflows specific to each setting--whether the OR, med-surg or ICU.  So, just like buying a new pair of clogs, an MDI solution requires a truly comfortable fit.  Otherwise, clinicians may develop painful “workflow” blisters!

Realizing this goal requires a thorough understanding and analysis of the specific clinical workflow needs and caregiver responsibilities in each department. It also calls for a flexible MDI solution that can adapt to the demands of each facility, caregiver and care environment.

Several good examples come to mind. In a critical care setting, such as the ICU, data is collected continuously and often caregivers need a visual and interactive display so they can quickly see that data is flowing correctly to the EMR from a distance as they walk in or out of the room. In low acuity care environments, such as med-surg, data is typically collected periodically through mobile MDI technology.  And finally, MDI in the OR, where running software on a PC works efficiently, a visual display is not required as the anesthesiologist is continuously monitoring the patient and the Anesthesia Information Management System where data is being populated.

Has your department ever introduced a new solution that fits like a favorite pair of Danskos, or has it been shoe-horned into a set-up that just seems “ill-fitting”? We’d like to hear from you.

Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Medical Device Integration, Nurses, Workflow