Picture a hospital overflowing with patients, with nurses running to and fro, putting out one fire after another – doing their best to keep everything afloat. Unending beeps and dings and public address calls fill the air.
This may be bedlam, but it’s no accident.
What’s happening in healthcare institutions worldwide is not merely that demand for services has outstripped supply. “We’re not even talking about bad people or even bad technology,” said Joe Beckman, International Sales Manager, Jeron Electronic Systems. “It’s more the fact that the old engineering mindset, applied to healthcare, no longer gets the job gone. Nurses are burning out – fast. Something must be done.”
According to a recent Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions survey, 94 per cent of nurses were found to be experiencing symptoms of burnout, with 45 per cent of respondents screening positive for severe burnout – a 50 per cent increase since 2019.
Going Beyond Technology
Can technology help with this crisis. The answer, according to hospital administrators is yes – provided that we can change the way in which hospital systems are built.
In the past, engineers aimed to build technologically sound and functional nurse call systems for hospitals. User experience and managing a system under stress were not points of focus for engineers. But things have changed – especially in recent years.
“We’re now in the age of human-centric medicine,” said Beckman, “and this is what a more sophisticated and holistically minded hospital admin wants from engineering – empathy at baseline, and also an openness to new ways of thinking. When it comes to nurse call systems, they want engineers who, like nurses, have people top of mind.”
From this perspective, the technical operations of something like a nurse call system is a minimum standard. The user experience, from a purely human standpoint, is now a critical factor, and has an enormous weighting when administrators are selecting and purchasing systems.
“This is really what today’s hospital admins are looking for.”
What Healthcare Providers Really Want
Engineers who want to work with a particular healthcare institution should ask how the human factors can be incorporated into their design. A key question to ask is, What specifically do they want to accomplish or improve on? What is it that staff need to deal with their day-to-day issues? Here are a few considerations:
- They want agility – Hospitals today want a communications system that is agile and adaptable. Also, with the global crisis in mind, they want the ability to quickly expand their capabilities as required.
- They want to cope with rising demand – If the pandemic has shown healthcare providers anything, it’s that they must get better at handling even drastic upswings in demand for their services. An efficient nurse call system provides for smoother communications between patients and care providers.
- They want to reduce alert fatigue – Nurses are constantly assailed by noise, be it from ventilators or vital sign equipment or the hospital PA. A modern nurse call system can prioritize alerts, and divert certain alerts to certain individuals.
- They want to extract meaningful insights from their data – A modern nurse call system – what Gartner calls “next-generation nurse call systems” – provides better data reporting tools and analytics. This allows clinicians to better cope with the sheer volume of data, and to extract meaning and make smarter decisions.
“Technology that touches on most or all of these is, from the perspective of a healthcare provider, transformative, addressing everything from caregiver stress and burnout, to data analytics and decision-making, to general quality of care from the patient’s perspective,” said Beckman.
Nail Your Next Hospital Tender
With the global nurse call systems market projected to rocket from $1.69B USD in 2022 to $4.07B by 2029, competition in this sector is only going to get more intense. That makes now the right time for engineers to come to terms with what healthcare providers need and want, and seize every opportunity that comes their way.
Any engineer seeking to make a deep and lasting impression with a healthcare organization must avoid, at baseline, mistakes that fall into the “common” category. To help in this direction, PX Solutions has published a free ebook.
Nail Your Next Hospital Tender: 4 Common Pitfalls of Tendering Nurse Call Systems – and how to avoid them covers a broad range of topics, including: why tendering nurse call systems properly is critical, and how to leverage the correlation between patient experience and clinical outcomes. Download it now.