Are you ready for connected care?
Information is power. But when that information comes at your clinicians from every direction all day long, they may find themselves more overwhelmed than empowered.
One CIO estimates that each patient at his medical center accumulates approximately 80 megabytes of data each year — the equivalent of more than 1,000 pages of words and images. As the data flow increases, is your IT organization ready to harness its power for more proactive and connected care?
It’s possible, and with purpose-built, open architecture, it’s well within reach. Here is a checklist to help your IT department prepare your hospital for a more connected future.
From smartphones to smart beds, hospitals are increasingly turning to technology to help stay informed on patient statuses and improve care. But if these technologies don’t talk to each other, you may find yourself drowning in unactionable data.
“Smart devices are a great place to start, but they’re not an ideal solution on their own,” says Jordan Sylvester, Vice President of Marketing at Hillrom. “When devices like smart beds, patient monitors, and EMRs can share data and send it to the caregivers that need it, that’s when we get something greater than the sum of its parts. More than just information, caregivers get the full context they need to make better clinical decisions from wherever they are.”
Once you have smart devices in place to monitor what needs monitoring, you’ll need a plan to manage all the data those devices will generate. And before you start sending it out, you’ll need to understand which is most clinically relevant to your caregivers. By taking a closer look at which data points are critical for each member of your care teams, you can help reduce alarm fatigue within your staff. Integrations can make life easier for IT and clinical teams alike.
Many hospitals use data aggregation solutions to deliver alerts, patient risks, waveforms, assignments, and more to the applications their clinical teams use every day. And when you choose solutions that use industry-standard protocols and open APIs, you can maximize your investments and be ready for future additions.
“Data aggregation systems are great ways to help caregivers keep a watchful eye on their patients,” comments Sylvester. “And when they are designed for easy integration, their impact grows exponentially. Industry-standard APIs mean your technology choices won’t box you into one platform or even one vendor. Your technology choices should work for you — not the other way around.”
Decision Support and Analytics
Now that you’ve got the right smart devices gathering patient data and aggregation programs helping you share it between systems, it’s time to consider which data gets sent to which caregiver and when.
A typical hospital sees tens of thousands of alarms transmitted each day — more than 85% of which may not require clinical interventions. Alarm fatigue is almost inevitable, and it carries serious consequences.
Integrated alarm management solutions can be powerful weapons against alarm fatigue. Customizable escalation pathways can help you surface timely and relevant for each caregiver. And when the system constantly analyzes the full alarm volume across devices, it can paint a much more complete picture of your patients’ and caregivers’ wellbeing.
“Alarm fatigue is a patient safety issue,” cautions Sylvester. “Hospitals need integrated solutions to help them harness the power of their data while reducing unnecessary alarms for caregivers. By powering the right analytics, IT organizations can do more than manage the volume of alarms — they can use them to help clinicians make better decisions and empower more proactive care tomorrow.”
Simplified Clinical Communications
Now that you’ve got data filters and analytics in place to surface just the right information for your caregivers, the last step is to make the communication process as simple for them as possible. Integrated care communication platforms can help you connect caregivers with their
patients — and each other — so they can keep their focus on the patient in front of them. This communication solution should not only be flexible enough to fit within your existing IT environment, but it should be able to reach beyond your hospital, as well.
“When selecting communication solutions, clinical and IT teams both need prominent seats at the table,” says Sylvester. “It comes down to clinical workflow and IT integration— and you shouldn’t have to compromise on either. When these elements come together, we can empower caregivers to access information and communicate about patient needs, quickly and securely, wherever they are.”
Healthcare is becoming more connected every day. With open-architecture solutions designed for easy integration, your IT department can do more than prepare for connected care – you can help propel it forward.
Hillrom is now a part of Baxter. Its Voalte® platform is a unified care communications solution that helps bring caregivers, patientsand familiestogether. Visit us online and discover how we are redefining care — for good.