For years (even back when a pandemic was something you read about in a book or learned about from watching Contagion), the US healthcare system has faced a nursing shortage. And now, during the COVID-19 crisis, there is significant and absolutely warranted concern that many in the current nurse population will leave the profession due to the extreme physical, mental, and emotional burnout they are experiencing all over the country.
Bottom line is that caregivers are forced to continually do more with less in every hospital regardless of status or location and this has been especially true throughout the pandemic. Exacerbating the situation is the poor communication and collaboration that plague so many hospitals and healthcare facilities everywhere.
With the extreme budget constraints that have only gotten worse during the pandemic, how can hospitals ensure that they provide the best possible patient care and deal with caregiver burnout? Care teams must be provided with the tools to work smarter, not harder and that’s where TigerConnect comes to the rescue.
For the past 10 years, TigerConnect’s care team collaboration platform has provided robust communication capabilities to healthcare facilities with its easy-to-use, mobile-friendly solution by blending centralized data and workflows with real-time patient information.
But, to achieve true full-spectrum care collaboration and digital healthcare transformation, an end-to-end solution is essential. What does that mean? It means that there must be a comprehensive middleware component providing a connection to the alarms and alerts originating from patients’ rooms (nurse call, physiological monitors, smart beds, real time location services, etc.) to TigerConnect’s mobile app. However, it is so much more than that… beyond connection, these alarms/alerts and event notifications must be intelligently managed and routed. The middleware platform must provide a rules-based engine that is customizable to meet the clinical workflow needs of the hospital which can vary greatly depending on the facility and unit. It also must be easily configurable and intuitive. And that’s where Critical Alert comes into the picture.
TigerConnect’s recent acquisition of Critical Alert and the integration of its FDA-cleared middleware platform provides a premier end-to-end offering enabling hospitals to attain the goal of comprehensive communication and care collaboration. The synergy resulting from this combined solution will significantly improve patient safety, care, and experience while simultaneously enhancing staff satisfaction and reducing burnout. The marriage of TigerConnect and Critical Alert’s platforms will also result in lower costs which is vital, especially with the ever-increasing financial burdens on hospitals today. In addition, the alarm management/middleware platform’s customizable clinical workflow builder will increase staff effectiveness. All of these features will alleviate many of the issues that hospitals currently face and will enable operational efficiency contributing to the mitigation of never events.
Alarm safety/alarm management is not a new concept. Healthcare professionals have been hearing about it for years. In 2014, the Joint Commission’s NPSG 06.01.01 required hospitals to focus on safe clinical alarm management and to implement policies and procedures to ensure alarm safety by 2016. However, seven years later and NPSG 06.01.01 is still on the Joint Commission’s Hospital National Patient Safety Goals list and alarm management/safety is still a significant issue in the majority of US healthcare facilities. Why? A multitude of reasons….but, primarily because alarm management is viewed as a complicated issue that commands time, energy, and dedication from cross-functional teams, resources which most hospitals find hard to come by. It does not have to be that way.
TigerConnect’s team (now with the addition of the Critical Alert team, includes seasoned veterans in alarm management) has the expertise, strategies, and technology to help guide hospitals in assessing their current state and pinpoint the problems that need to be addressed. From there, working with clinical and IT leadership as well as other stakeholders, a customized alarm management plan can be created to meet the unique needs of each hospital’s operations, staff, and patients.
The hospital environment is fluid, and things are constantly changing and evolving. Because of this, it is imperative that the chosen alarm management/middleware platform can be easily reconfigured and does not require calling the vendor for every little change. We believe that you should be in control of your alarm management platform, not us. Some alarm management/middleware vendors are not in agreement with that sentiment and will not grant or support self-administration.
Did you know that over 90 percent of patient alarms are non-actionable? Yes, you read it correctly…90 percent… that is a staggering statistic! How can TigerConnect help with that? Our newly combined solutions apply customizable parameters to all patient alarms and alerts to ensure only those that are actionable will be sent to caregivers. These parameters are also role-based so that non-critical alerts will be automatically routed to CNAs rather than to the patient’s RN. For example, alarms such as asystole, v-tach, and v-fib are routed to the assigned RN while leads off, low battery, and similar alarms can be routed to support staff.
Our intelligent routing and configuration feature also help by suspending alarms for a customized timeframe, allowing for self-correction before sending the notification to the caregiver. A good example of this is when an Sp02 low alarm is triggered on an infant in the NICU. Babies are constantly in motion and oftentimes the Sp02 monitor shows an oxygen saturation level below range causing an alarm; however, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it will self-correct almost immediately when the infant’s heart and respiration rates are back within normal limits. With the suspend feature configured, it allows the infant time to self-correct, and these false alarms will not be routed to the NICU nurse(s). However, although the alarm was not sent to the caregiver, it will still be dated, timestamped, and included in reports.
Multi-level escalation is another way to ensure better patient care and staff efficiency. The Critical Alert solution allows for unlimited levels of, and numbers of assigned respondents to escalations. This results in more effective workflows tailored to your needs thereby improving patient safety, satisfaction, and experience as along with corresponding HCAHPS scores. All of these factors and more result in a calmer, quieter environment that promotes the patient healing process as well as fewer clinical interruptions, which enable nurses to do what they do best and what is most important… care for their patients.