For many years hospitals have been working hard to eliminate communication challenges and improve nursing workflows. Whether it’s locating a nurse, or responding to a patient’s request for more pain medication — it has been notoriously time consuming and difficult to streamline these workflows. One of the approaches to resolving this is through the implementation of a unified nurse calling system. This solution offers a way for nurses and patients to interact, and for nurses to get real-time notification on patient status and respond to patient requests. Previously for some of these systems, excessive wiring in patient rooms and nurses’ areas was a must, which made installation expensive and hard quite cumbersome. Fortunately though, they did end up providing tremendous value, and thus were worth the costs in the end.
Nurse calling systems have seen several changes throughout the years. Some of the early models were based on simple light indicators — some still being used in doctors offices today — where a patient has the option to press one of few color coded buttons, causing a board at the nurses’ station to light up, indicating the room number and the color pressed.
But in today’s market, there have been many new solutions that can do more than just light exchange. Many are IP based systems that can exchange messages, voice and data. Some of the newer nurse calling systems offer several advantages, such as:
- The ability to use RTLS (Real-time Location System) to locate a nurse on the floor
- Two-way communication between patient-nurse or physician-nurse
- Integration with heart monitors and other medical devices to alert nurses of a patient’s critical condition
- Computerized dashboards that show real-time location of nurses, room status, patient info and current staff distributions
- Wireless communication as the backbone to utilizing existing infrastructure without incurring additional wiring costs
- IP based
- Scalable, which enables the system to grow with demand
- Ease of manageability and enabling IT departments to manage and support the solution
- “There is an App for that” — well I have not seen a system with a mobile app yet, but I am certain there has to be one out there
- Interoperability where the system can interact with other medical devices as well as HIS (Hospital Information System)
It is very clear that new nurse calling systems will help improve patient care, as they are a good way to increase efficiency, drive positive outcomes, and help nurses provide better care for their patients.
The original article can be found here.
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