Hardware-Based Nurse Call – A Race to the Bottom

As hospitals and health systems have embraced digital transformation across their technology footprint, IT and clinical leaders face the challenge of upgrading their legacy clinical systems. However, adapting these solutions is not simple due to unique complexities within the applications, interdependence on other integrations, their impact on IT infrastructure and continuity of care, and, most importantly, their exorbitant cost.

Above all other clinical deployments, nurse call systems have proven problematic for hospitals as they seek to adopt modern, patient-centric models of care and IT-based best practices such as standardization, scalability, and serviceability.

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Next-Generation Nurse Call Is Here

Learn how TigerConnect can modernize your nurse call communications without reinventing the wheel.

Legacy Nurse Call – IT Perspective

Nurse Call systems have been around for decades, providing a basic life-safety mechanism in hospitals and health organizations. However, as most healthcare IT and communication technologies have gone virtual, nurse call innovations have stalled out.

This technology gap is due to the UL 1069 standard, which requires fixing nurse signaling solutions, ensures wired systems have redundant power, and lays out additional stringent standards. Unfortunately, legacy systems have focused on engineering hardware infrastructure, perpetuating the demand for even more hardware and servers while decreasing opportunities for flexibility, customization, and integrations.

Legacy Nurse Call – Clinical Perspective

Legacy nurse call systems often employ a “one-size-fits-all” approach to clinical workflow, leading to inefficiencies as they scale across a hospital or enterprise. Within complex care settings, each unit requires individual configuration of workflow and assignments to manage patient care effectively.

Recognizing that care teams continuously need to adapt to meet safety, responsiveness, and efficiency goals, clinical system developers/manufacturers have adopted flexible software-based engineering models for their core product offerings.

While all legacy nurse call applications in the acute-care space employ software for basic configuration and reporting, most have stopped short of becoming the fully extensible, cloud-native, workflow-centric solutions embraced by similar clinical systems. Not surprisingly, notification fatigue constitutes a significant problem in hospitals and healthcare facilities, leading to unnecessary negative outcomes for patient safety and satisfaction[2,3].

Lack of Actionable Data for Continuous Improvement

Clinical teams require access to reliable data to feed continuous improvement processes and monitor metrics that impact patient safety, experience, caregiver efficiency, and workflow effectiveness. Therefore, your nurse call systems must normalize data from integrations with third-party ecosystem applications such as smart beds, RTLS, mobile devices, EHR, and alarm management to meet this demand.

Legacy, hardware-based systems cannot offer this without upgrades, expensive add-on software, or overly complex installations that are often rigid in their configuration, narrow in their deployment, and not scalable.

Software-First Approach to Nurse Call

Modern nurse call and middleware software offerings seek to operationalize and standardize clinical processes through a combination of flexible workflow and assignment configuration, two-way integrations with clinical systems, and enterprise-wide capture of analytics for insights into process efficiencies.

The software-first approach focuses on unit-by-unit clinical workflow and communication needs rather than deployment and widgets. This approach enables each unit in each hospital to design (and re-design) solutions based on their unique settings while also having the ability to “roll-up” or normalize that data across the entire enterprise.

“Nurse Call systems focused on helping hospitals standardize workflow design and user experience ensure the best possible patient experience and outcomes, provide an environment where caregivers can practice at the top of their license and decrease RN interruptions, turnover, and burnout.”

TigerConnect’s modern, enterprise, software-based approach to nurse call communications and workflow offers a unique and value-added approach for designing your caregiver model of the future by:

  • Providing a unified software layer that can operate on top of third-party nurse call hardware, extending the life of legacy nurse call investments
  • Streamlining patient-to-caregiver interactions using adaptable, replicable clinical workflow standards
  • Offering real-time, actionable analytics, trending, and insight into patient care data (regardless of nurse call deployment)
  • Diminishing the burden of supporting outdated, legacy nurse call on clinical and IT teams through easy-to-use enterprise workflow configuration and staff assignments
  • Dramatically reducing up-front nurse call upgrade costs through asynchronous deployment across the enterprise, slowly replacing legacy signaling equipment as it fails rather than requiring a hospital-wide construction project
  • Providing flexible, modern pricing options, combining SaaS-based subscription and on-premise models
  • Allowing each hospital to manage the application themselves rather than relying on costly and time-consuming proprietary service providers

Upgrade Your Legacy Nurse Call System with TigerConnect

Legacy nurse call systems often require costly upgrades or replacement to adopt new features, integrations, or scale to other locations. As a result, hospitals either have to choose between dealing with their current system or enduring an expensive and disruptive construction project.

TigerConnect can extend the life and feature-set of your legacy nurse call system by overlaying your existing nurse call solution with our clinical workflow engine. Additionally, TigerConnect provides more adaptable, scalable, and consistent clinical communications, actionable intelligence, better support, and cost controls combined with our robust collaboration platform.


  1. Kalisch BJ, Labelle AE, Boqin X. Nursing teamwork and time to respond to call lights: an exploratory study. Rev Latino-Am Enfermagem. 2013;21(spe):242-249. doi:10.1590/S0104-11692013000700030
  2. Woo M, Bacon O. Alarm Fatigue. In: Hall KK, Shoemaker-Hunt S, Hoffman L, et al. Making Healthcare Safer III: A Critical Analysis of Existing and Emerging Patient Safety Practices [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2020 Mar. 13. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555522/
  3. Criscitelli T. Alarm Management: Promoting Safety and Establishing Guidelines. AORN Journal. 2016;103(5):518-521. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2016.03.008
  4. Chuang S-T, Liu Y-F, Fu Z-X, et al. Application of a Smartphone Nurse Call System for Nursing Care. Telemedicine and e-Health. 2015;21(2):105-109. doi:10.1089/tmj.2014.0071
  5. Unluturk MS, Ozcanhan MH, Dalkilic G. Improving communication among nurses and patients. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine. 2015;120(2):102-112. doi:10.1016/j.cmpb.2015.04.004
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