It may be summer in North America, but today it feels like Christmas at Halifax Regional Medical Center in North Carolina. Clinicians there recently received the gift of time — courtesy of medical device connectivity — and now they can spend more time with patients and less time on the computer.
Here’s their story...
The hospital recently purchased new Welch Allyn CVSM patient monitoring equipment, and wanted to transfer vitals from those devices electronically into the hospital’s MEDITECH C/S EHR patient charts. Robert Gordon is the Director of Information Systems at Halifax Regional, and he told us, “We’re committed to finding ways to better leverage technology so we can continuously enhance care, and connecting medical devices with the EHR is a major step in that direction.”
Taking it one step further
The hospital also wanted clinicians to be able to verify results at the bedside on their new Welch Allyn devices. This is a much more streamlined clinical workflow process than using an EHR’s lengthy vital sign verification procedure. Luckily for Halifax, Welch Allyn and Iatric Systems established a partnership in early 2014 that makes this optimal clinical workflow possible:
Night and day
Before the implementation, nurses and nursing assistants at Halifax collected vitals manually. Results were scribbled down on a piece of paper, or on the palm of a hand, or on scrubs. And at a later time — sometimes even at the end of a shift — the vitals were typed into the computer. We all know the problems that can go hand-in-hand with that manual process — delays in treatment, errors caused by typos and omissions, and time spent on the computer ultimately meant less time with patients.
As a clinical manager, I know that many nurses chose their profession because they looked forward to spending time with patients, getting to know each person, making them feel comfortable during their stay, and making a difference in their lives. However, nurses often end up rushing from patient to patient, looking for the right piece of equipment that works in each room, taking vitals and trying to enter that information correctly into the EHR before they have to do it all again. Welch Allyn’s partnership with Iatric Systems was designed to help nurses do more with less by improving efficiencies and outcomes so they can focus on what matters most — spending time with their patients.
Today, clinicians at Halifax Regional take patients’ vital signs and verify them right at the bedside on their Welch Allyn devices. They then transmit those vitals into the EHR with the click of a button before saving to the patient chart. It really is like night and day.
A win-win for everyone
The new process has improved employee satisfaction. Sheryl Watson, who helped bring the solution live and is the Clinical Informatics Supervisor at Halifax told us, “They love it. It’s so much easier, and they feel a certain sense of security when using the new process because it’s proven to be efficient.”
It has the potential to help improve patient satisfaction, too. Sheryl added, “They get to talk with the patients more instead of looking at the computer screen. Evidence suggests that spending more time with patients is the very thing that improves patient satisfaction.”
And it can enhance physician satisfaction. Because Welch Allyn vitals are available to physicians right away, they can assess patient information and prescribe appropriate treatments right away, too, and be confident that the data they’re using is correct, not mistyped. Sheryl summed it up by saying, “The single greatest benefit of Accelero Connect [Iatric Systems medical device connectivity solution] has been the elimination of documentation errors.”
See it in action
Tomorrow, August 25, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. ET, Iatric Systems will host a webcast demonstration showing how Welch Allyn vital signs and other medical device data can be transmitted to an EHR.
Stories like these are why I love working in healthcare. Santa and Halifax Regional’s implementation team deserve some time off now. Keep an eye out for them if you’re vacationing at the Outer Banks.