TECHNOLOGY: The lowly hospital call button

After Frau’s recent stints in the hospital, I was thinking about their poor use of technology.

The lowly call button is the problem. Patients push but … and frustration ensues.

Sitting there with little to do, I mused about how, if I was KING, I’d rework that.

It’s a perfect call center application.

In my world, I’d have room full of “911 operators” to answer the calls. And, I’d have the staff equipped with the latest mobile technology. Like a push to talk cell phone on their hip with a blue tooth headset.

Patient pushes the call button! ,

In the current system, the unit clerk usually answers the bell with a not so cheery “whaddayawant”. OK, that’s not the exact words, but it really is the exact message.

In my system, the “911 operator” would answer: “Yes, is this urgent?” If response = “yes”, set priority to “immediate”. If response = “no”, set priority to “routine”. “What do you need?” And parse the response. “Pain” = “Nurse” “Bedpan” = “Aide” “Spill = Housekeeping” “Lawyer” = “Notify Risk Management” (You get the idea?)

Then, my system would be different in many ways. For “urgent”, I’d go down the list for first available: patient’s regular nurse, the backup, the charge nurse, any available floor nurse, and finally the Director of Nursing. (Wanna bet how many hit the honcho’s phone?)

For routine requests, the “911 operator” would speak to the appropriate party (i.e., nurse, tech, or housekeeper). If they were busy, they could queue it with a “remind me”. The “911 operator would have the person’s queue of items on screen and be able to say “you have five reminders, can I get you some help?”

Nothing would be “forgotten”. Response times would be measurable. Patient satisfaction would improve.

And I’d FLOG the leadership to help motivate them. :-)

These folks work very hard with what I call “a suit from Omar’s” (You know the tailor that has two sizes — too big and too small.) for technology support.

I can quickly list: bp / temp / pulse ox machines that down’t talk to the patient records; blood glucose testing devices that have to be docked to communicate; static white boards that have last shift’s names on them; quality assurance sheets to be signed each hour to ensure that the folks physically visit the rooms and are filled out just before the end of shift; no one monitors what the patient eats; ripoff tv and phone service; no exercise equipment; no technology for communication — people yell for people even on the quiet critical units.

It’s a Leadership problem. It obvious; they just don’t care. Argh!

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