This blog encapsulates a recent case study in which hospital leaders at Hardin Memorial Health in Elizabethtown, Kentucky discuss how the hospital improved communication, responsiveness, safety, and patient experience. Read the full case study here.
While providing hands-on care to a trauma patient after a multiple-car accident, an emergency department (ED) physician at Hardin Memorial Health helped treat a second critical patient in a room down the hall – at the same time.
Around his neck the physician wore a Vocera® Badge, a device with which he could communicate hands-free. Speaking into the Badge, the doctor provided clinical guidance to the second patient’s nurse while continuing to resuscitate the first patient.
Hospital leaders credit fast communication and effective collaboration between clinicians for both patients’ survival.
Communication Challenge After ED Expansion
In early 2018, Hardin Memorial Health doubled its ED square footage and increased the number of exam rooms from 27 to 65. The expansion was a benefit for patients because of the added capacity. But it created a new communication challenge for clinicians accustomed to being at closer proximity to each other.
Hospital leaders needed a solution to keep care team members connected in the much larger ED. They knew the smartphone approach was not the answer because ED clinicians had already tried using a smartphone app from a Florida-based company, and adoption was low because it didn’t adequately support clinicians’ need for direct communication.
Instant, Direct Communication Supports Workflow
When hospital leaders evaluated the Vocera Badge, they knew the device was the communication solution the ED staff needed.
Using the Vocera Badge, care team members can quickly connect with individuals by name or role using voice commands like “Call Blue Team Nurse” or “Call Respiratory Therapist.” They also use the Badge to activate specific teams by saying, “Call Code Stroke” or “Call Code Blue.” Each person assigned to a specific team receives the call on their Vocera Badge and can act immediately.
Care team members can exchange vital information with each other or request help without stopping care delivery or leaving the point of care.
Choosing the Right Device for the Role and Task
While ED care teams prefer the Vocera Badge, department administrators who don’t provide hands-on patient care prefer using the Vocera mobile app, which lets them securely text and call by name, role or group. Users can easily send and receive notifications, access messages, and see who is on-call via their smartphone or desktop console.
Since implementing Vocera technology, the hospital has seen an improvement in staff and patient safety, overall department operations, and patient experience perceptions. Delays in care communication have diminished.
By putting focus on improving clinical communication and workflow, the hospital achieved measurable results including:
- 69.5% drop in left without being seen rate
- 12% improvement in ED Top Box HCAHPS scores related to “staff caring for patients as a person”
- 3 point increase in overall patient satisfaction scores in the ED
- 44.7% jump in ED HCAHPS scores related to “doctors informing patients about treatment”
In addition to measurable outcomes, hospital leaders also described improvements in qualitative results and the positive impact on patients, families, and staff.
I invite you to read the case study and the related HealthSystemCIO.com article Voice of Reason: The Benefits of Taking Communication Out of Providers’ Hands by Deanna Parker, Assistant VP, Emergency Services at Hardin Memorial Health.