Truman Medical Centers needed to optimize nursing workflow while increasing staff satisfaction and improving patient safety.
The devices nurses were using, such as pagers, old CareMobile devices and health system-issued phones, were nearing the end of their productive life. The time was right to implement new mobile technology, with a priority on allowing nurses to protect Protected Health Information while texting providers.
Truman Medical Centers and health IT giant Cerner have been working together since 1992, and that agreement took a big step in 2015 with the creation of the KC One Health Innovation Alliance. This alliance included a “living lab” goal that has allowed for focusing on solving top issues Truman Medical Centers was experiencing by using the latest solutions from Cerner.
The Cerner CareAware Connect project is an example of what it means to be that living lab for both caregivers and patients by adding more robust features and capabilities to streamline the nursing workflow, ultimately giving nurses time back to spend at the patient bedside, said Amy Peters, RN, chief nursing officer at Truman Medical Centers.
CareAware Connect replaced several devices with one, eliminating the need for phones for calling physicians, pagers to reach nurses, CareMobile for scanning medications, cameras for clinical photo collection and a computers for data entry.
“Nurses feel more empowered by using a more convenient device,” Peters said. “CareAware allows for increased data on one device, information at their fingertips, and reduces frustration in searching for equipment.”
There are a variety of technology vendors on the market today selling all-purpose mobile computers for healthcare. These vendors include Honeywell, ICP America, Janam, Motorola, RMS Omega and Sparton.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
The Zebra Technologies TC51-HC mobile computer and Cerner CareAware Connect system enable nurses to instantly connect with physicians, family members, other healthcare staff such as social workers, and the patients themselves, regardless of location. Most important, all communication is secure and Protected Health Information is secured, Peters said.
“Our nurses can take high-quality pictures of wounds or other medical issues and securely text those images to a member of the care team using the TC51-HC and Cerner’s Camera Capture application,” she explained. “What is great about this is that it saves nurses time and creates a perpetual, real-life record automatically saved in a patient’s chart.”
“When comparing a nurse’s steps over two 12-hour shifts, one nurse using CareAware Connect benefitted by reducing her steps from more than 15,000 steps to 7,800.”
Amy Peters, RN, Truman Medical Centers
Uploading the photograph into the patient’s chart is streamlined when using the TC51-HC; the device also has a flash LED that improves image quality, she added.
“Nurses also can use the mobile device to instantaneously retrieve data from patients’ electronic health records and other critical information,” she said. “The built-in barcode scanning capabilities in the TC51-HC support many patient safety-related applications. For example, when nurses launch Cerner CareAware Connect on the device they can scan patient identification bracelets, allowing them to double-check medication and track specimens; for example, breast milk.”
With nurses now carrying just one mobile device instead of using five, Truman estimates the mobile computers and CareAware Connect platform have improved communication workflows.
“When comparing a nurse’s steps over two 12-hour shifts, one nurse using CareAware Connect benefitted by reducing her steps from more than 15,000 steps to 7,800,” she reported.
The TC51-HC mobile computer also provides three times more battery life than the previous mobile devices Truman Medical Centers nurses carried, allowing seamless usage throughout the entire shift without requiring recharging.
Further, since Truman Medical Centers nurses started using the TC51-HC and CareAware Connect, patient wristband scanning has improved 12 percent from October 2017 for lab specimen collection. And the provider organization has sustained a 93 percent scan rate for medication scanning.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“To ensure for the greatest support, I’d recommend having buy-in from your medical center’s CNO and physicians,” Peters advised. “It is also valuable to have clear goals and expectations for your devices. Those goals are best met when the CNO communicates clearly about how the devices work, and why the medical center is making the conversion.”
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