by Kathleen Harmon, MS, RN
As a former ED nurse, I often reflect on my direct care delivery experience and recall the feeling of being forced to work in a certain way when new technology was pushed into my workflow that often didn’t make sense. Technology often acted as a barrier, not an enabler for me to be my best. Worst of all, I recall technology actually handicapping my ability to provide care. I felt like I had to treat the technology, rather than the patient. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. This wasn’t and isn’t acceptable. Over the years, my passion to ensure technology supports workflow and workflow enables the caregiver has not waned and I’m more committed today than ever before to spreading the message that we are now at the point where we can implement technology to enable and support best practice as well as empower nurses, in real time, to be accountable to their performance and supporting metrics.
Best practices for clinical communication and mobility require a thoughtful design and implementation roadmap. Careful consideration must be given to aligning technology decisions with desired clinical improvements, overall goals of the organization, and the needs, and perspectives of caregivers. Desired outcomes should act as the guiding principles for technology use and training, identifying appropriate metrics for quantifying success and return on investment, and other critical success factors. First and foremost, health systems should create a multidisciplinary governance committee, determine the key stakeholders for the project and decide on the simplest way to involve them in creating a shared vision of the mobile clinical communications program. Forming this multidisciplinary governance committee is one way to ensure that representatives of every group affected by the change, from administrative staff to caregivers, will have a voice in designing the smarter mobile clinical communication workflows. As drivers of patient care, physicians in particular play a critical role in the use of smart communication technology. Engaging physicians at the outset and securing their buy-in is a critical success factor.
Once the foundational clinical communication and mobility technology is in place, caregivers can complete end-to-end workflows using:
- Clinical Documentation,
- PPID Scanning, and
When the care team is enabled to comprehensively deliver mobile care, we can begin to measure clinical KPIs wholistically, which meaningfully supports care transformation and ongoing innovation from the point of care. By providing caregivers the real time data they need to adjust their practice, they can move from a reactive to proactive state as it relates to safety (falls, alarms, etc.), patient empowerment (moving towards the co-production of care), and staff engagement because information is available before a negative event occurs. This is a game changer for continuous improvement and achieving desired outcomes.
Does clinical technology have to be a barrier? Absolutely not. A well-orchestrated clinical communication mobility program will support workflow and workflow will empower caregivers to be at their best. With complete mobile clinical workflow automation tools and real-time data delivery, we provide caregivers with the ability to transform care, ensuring technology is behind the scenes, and the patient is front and center.