Home Health Care Creating a Caregiver-Friendly Experience with Patient Flow Technology

Creating a Caregiver-Friendly Experience with Patient Flow Technology

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While much-deserved focus within healthcare is placed on the patient experience at the point of care, the experience of the caregiver is an equally important factor. In fact, there is growing consensus that the caregiver experience not only affects the well-being of the caregiver, but can also impact the quality of care provided to patients.

For instance, consider the effect caregiver burnout or frustration can have on the patient/caregiver interaction, which is at the heart of the point of care experience. Caregivers experiencing burnout can be more easily exasperated by patients, become less engaged, unintentionally come across as less friendly or uncaring, and even risk making errors. This can severely damage the vital foundation of trust, while contributing to a disorganized environment.

Three of the most significant factors that can impact the caregiver experience are:

  1. inefficient processes and workflows, which can cause caregivers to get behind schedule with patient visits and underutilize critical resources, requiring them to unnecessarily work harder or longer;
  2. safety, which includes everything from difficulty in assisting patients with mobility issues to risking possible infection from contaminates or tripping over equipment in a cluttered room; and
  3. ergonomics, with many caregivers experiencing back pain, aching necks and sore muscles or joints from continuously working in uncomfortable positions.

While the right equipment and exam room design decisions can help create a more safe, comfortable and efficient point of care environment for caregivers, the capture and analysis of accurate workflow data can also have a big impact.

Real-time locating system (RTLS) technology, which has been providing value in acute care for decades, has more recently helped healthcare organizations create caregiver-friendly ambulatory care facilities.

RTLS makes capturing accurate workflow data possible, communicating in-the-moment patient and staff locations, wait times and staff interactions, as well as a vast amount of retrospective detail. The information offers a more accurate understanding of the real-time status of workflows inside the facility.

Real-time locating system (RTLS) technology, which has been providing value in acute care for decades, has more recently helped healthcare organizations create caregiver-friendly ambulatory care facilities.[/caption]

Analytics reveal insights to the duration of key activities, utilization trends, and bottlenecks that allow for targeted approaches to close gaps and drive new levels of overall patient flow efficiency.

There are a number of ways the use of RTLS technology can improve workflow and positively impact the caregiver experience. Following are a few of the most important.

  1. Self-Rooming improves the caregiver experience by alerting staff when patients have arrived and are ready to be seen. Staff spend less time walking back and forth to room patients and more time performing fulfilling, value-added work. It can also shorten time patients spend alone in the exam room, decreasing the stress of waiting and improving quality of patient-caregiver interactions.
  2. Improved Patient Flow through dynamic rooming/scheduling that uses visual cues to identify which rooms are available. The technology also shows the exact location of patients, as well as who has seen them and who has not yet been with them. These visual cues contribute to a more organized day for caregivers.
  3. Contagion Exposure can be monitored and managed since the technology automatically documents interactions between patients and staff. Healthcare organizations can quickly see who was exposed to a contagious person and for how long, supporting immediate containment efforts or putting minds at ease if staff are found not to have been exposed.
  4. Process Improvements can be made and managed with data that help healthcare leaders identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, as well as verify quality improvement efforts with quantifiable metrics and benchmarks.
  5. Asset Tracking is perhaps the most common use of RTLS in acute care. Monitoring the real-time locations of mobile equipment, such as ECGs and vital signs devices, reduces the amount of time spent searching for equipment and helps ensure caregivers have the right equipment when and where they need it.

In today’s value-based care environment where more emphasis is being placed on the point of care experience, RTLS technology can be a valuable tool in creating a more safe, comfortable and efficient point of care environment for the caregiver. For more information on the technology, download the Midmark eBook 12 Reasons Why RTLS Makes Sense for Healthcare.

 

 

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