Wireless device increases nurse response time

A Wisconsin-based healthcare organization is tapping a mobile nurse calling system in a quest to drive more open communication between patients and care providers, as well as gain operational cost efficiencies, according to a Healthcare Informatics article.

The Sauk Prairie Healthcare hospital and surgery specialty center says the mHealth tech will also improve patient safety and help locate needed nurses in quicker fashion, which should enhance patient care. Every nurse is provided a wireless handheld device registered to a specific unit in the hospital and patients can contact their nurses via a direct communication unit.

"Our previous nurse call system was not integrated or tied into our infrastructure. It was [basically] a pull-down cord that would trigger a light in the room so a nurse or whoever saw the light would come to the room," Marybeth Bay, IT director and chief information officer at Sauk Prairie, said in the article.

The news comes on the heels of a report revealing that nurses are increasingly relying on mobile devices and Internet access for workplace needs, with 65 percent using a device at work and 95 percent of healthcare organizations supporting online devices for clinical consulting and accessing information. As FierceHealthIT reported this August, nurses increasingly are taking on new leadership roles in health IT and having a major impact on healthcare innovation and delivery.

Bay says Sauk Prairie's said the hospital previosuly also relied heavily on paging systems to get needed medical professionals to a patient or emergency care room.

"What we had before was overhead paging, so if someone went into cardiac arrest, they would call 'code blue' from the intercom, and you would get a lot of inpatient caretakers to come over to assist. So you didn't have an efficient process," Bay said. "Now, if there is a code blue in that environment, the nurse will see the alert and the specific location/room right on the device."

The new call system software is tied to a new data center the hospital also developed as part of its goal to tap technology for improving patient care and reducing inefficient processes within the center, according to the article.

For more information:
- read the Healthcare Informatics article

Related Articles:
Nursing staffs tap mobile devices, Internet resources for workplace needs
The rise of nurses in health IT
Nurse's firing highlights importance of social media discretion