Patient-centered Care … it’s a phrase I’ve heard from the beginning of my nursing career. But do our actions back up our words? Is the patient truly the center of our care? It is certainly what nurses strive to do, what we all want for our patients, and what we expect when it is a loved one who is the patient. But with all of the distractions during any given shift—some necessary, some not—it’s difficult to keep the focus on our patients.
Complicated workflows, redundant, time-consuming documentation, inefficient hospital unit design, unproductive processes can all pull the clinician’s attention away from direct patient care and create unnecessary steps to complete tasks. There are so many tasks that must be performed during any given shift that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get it all done. It can be overwhelming.
With so many responsibilities, there is a risk that nurses may resort to prioritizing the many tasks required and possibly leaving some undone, known as “missed nursing care”, in order to just make it through their shift. Activities such as ambulation, turning, patient education, and discharge planning are very important duties that, if missed, can cause complications such as blood clots or pressure ulcers, or worse, lead to increased length of stay and a greater chance of re-admission.
As we move from a fee-for-service to a value-based care model (where hospitals are paid a fixed fee according to diagnosis), it is increasingly important to provide the absolute best care possible. We can’t afford to have anything missed. Payers will not cover complications, extended inpatient days, and readmissions.
Fortunately, technology is available that can help by reducing obstacles and assimilating seamlessly into clinicians’ natural workflow. Wearable communication devices aid in locating staff, asking for assistance, and can even alert staff to alarms or call lights. Rapid sign-on devices can speed up the process of logging in to a computer workstation. Automating the capture and documentation of the vast amount of data emitted by the medical devices used to monitor and treat patients is very effective in assisting clinicians. I can speak from experience. I worked in critical care prior to device integration and it is very time consuming to manually key in all that information. I can tell you there is a world of difference after the deployment of device integration.
Capsule has solutions to accomplish device integration. SmartLinx Vitals Stream can acquire all the continuous data from the devices used in critical care, OR, endoscopy…wherever these type of devices are used. Even med-surg can benefit from integrating mobile vital signs monitors with Capsule’s SmartLinx Chart Xpress. And with the addition of the Early Warning Scoring System, the clinician can be alerted to a patient who is at risk of serious decline early so interventions can be set in place to help prevent a serious event. The outcome of medical device integration is accurate data sent directly to the patient record nearly simultaneously with its collection and greatly reducing the number of necessary steps to complete the process. This results in the recovery of time that can be redirected to patient care, enhancing the ability of nurses and the rest of the care team to perform the duties essential to helping patients recover. Time also helps them stay tuned in to the patient’s condition so they can recognize changes that can lead to the development of serious complications.
Keeping the patient in the center of what we do is what contributes to the overall patient experience and leads to better patient outcomes, as well as higher nurse and staff satisfaction. Most important, though, it’s how we want all patients treated.