Communication and collaboration on patient care in hospital
I have spent a lot of my career going to different hospitals around the world and talking to nurses and doctors about what works for them and what doesn’t. The most common frustration I hear about is with the amount of paperwork needed in order to communicate very simple care needs and routines with all the health professionals who look after a single patient.
Only around a third of a nurse’s time is spent on direct patient care. The rest is taken up with reporting and recording the care they deliver. This is an enormous waste of time, talent and resource.
Not just this, often there is no easy place to record information – on a clipboard, at the nurses’ station on a computer, on a computer on wheels that is often hard to locate, on an ipad that they have to carry around and sometimes lose.
I have even visited hospitals where health professionals use their personal devices for recording patient care, which leaves the hospital wide-open to data protection breaches and security risk.
This is life preserving data and with an incoherent way of recording it there are increased opportunities for error, mishandling and mistakes. On the wider move to value-based healthcare, this also means that important patient data and care details are lost and unable to be analyzed to improve patient care.
Point of care solutions create an easy answer
- For the patient: they offer a range of services such as entertainment, communication with family, information on their treatment and aftercare advice and for kids they can be used as a webcam to be able to participate in school. This is vital for improving patient engagement in their treatment and health and it can increase satisfaction with the service by giving a patient full understanding of their care and control over the role they can play.
- For the administration of the hospital: they provide a menu for food, a way of calling an healthcare assistant for a drink or for any personal needs. The system can also help supply the data for billing requirements and logistics as well as enabling patients’ access to climate control and heating.
- For the healthcare professional: they provide a safe place to detail a patient’s care, that can detail the drugs dispensed: dose, time and routine and that will alert you when medication is due.
- For infection prevention: when an infection has spread, the Infection Prevention worker needs to investigate where the source is coming from and who has been in contact with this particular patient. With a point of care solution, we know exactly who has been with which patient. This information can be extracted with a single click thus speeding up the process of identifying the source and containing infection.
Shared communication and collaboration via such a device is lifesaving and efficient.
Getting this right can have enormous benefits
Firstly there is obviously a cost advantage in saving health professionals time and freeing up vital resource. This can also help with the recruitment of health professionals, something which is becoming more and more difficult as people are put off the caring profession by the level of time they will spend on administrative tasks.
These machines cut liability claims by having data stored in single place to follow customer journey. Easy to access patient care data for someone’s entire hospital stay can have enormous benefits to managing claims.
In more surprising ways these terminals have been found to reduce cost in food waste by allowing patients the opportunity to see what they’re ordering and make their own choices ahead of time.
Finally, in value-based healthcare, this data will be vital. Standardized collection of information covering personal, demographic, treatments, care and outcomes can be used to gain insights into best practice and the very best treatment for an individual.
Communication and collaboration within a hospital has long been a sore topic. It does require an initial investment, there is no way round that but the results bring vast improvements to health professionals, hospitals and, most importantly, patients.