One day in early October, administrators, department heads, nurses and assorted clinical staff at Kern Medical Center (KMC) took time from their busy schedules to participate in side-by-side demonstrations of the latest Nurse Call technology and meet with representatives of four competing systems.
Organized by Vantage, the day-long informational forum provided an opportunity for KMC personnel to learn more about the latest innovations in Nurse Call technology by comparing cutting-edge systems from Ascom, Hill-Rom, Jeron and Rauland – vendors approved by the Hospital’s Group Purchasing Organization (GPO).
“As consultants, one of our most important roles is to assist clients in making informed decisions. Events like this can effectively streamline what is often a time-consuming task.”
The exercise was designed to help the hospital make well-informed choices that will improve patient care. To that end, hospital personnel were invited to test-drive the technology, ask probing questions and share their impressions with Vantage representatives and KMC’s procurement staff.
Located in Bakersfield, CA, KMC is the leading medical facility serving Kern County, a sprawling area with nearly a million inhabitants located at the southern edge of California’s Central Valley. Work is currently underway on an important technology upgrade, and Nurse Call is one of the essential systems getting a careful review.
“This is an important part of what we do,” Vantage Principal Phil Crompton said. “As consultants, one of our most important roles is to assist clients in making informed decisions. Events like this can effectively streamline what is often a time-consuming task.”
The on-site forum was an attractive option for KMC staff, Crompton explained, because it eliminated the burdensome time and logistical considerations that must be addressed when vendor meetings take place individually, and off-site.
“Healthcare professionals, especially front-line nurses, doctors and administrators, are extremely busy professionals. It’s challenging for them to schedule individual meetings with multiple vendors, especially at separate locations,” Crompton said.
By locating the event on-site, the Hospital was able to enlist its front-line nursing staff and other key stakeholders in the process. KMC’s leadership was keenly interested in hearing from those staff members that will use the technology every day. What’s more, the team wanted to understand how the features and functions being showcased would integrate with existing systems and related technologies, such as patient locator services.
“Involving clinical staff was hugely beneficial,” Crompton commented. “It helped generate valuable feedback for the hospital, and there is tremendous value in that.”
Though Vantage is an independent consulting firm not allied with any specific product or vendor, our consultants are often asked to provide guidance or make recommendations about systems such as Nurse Call.
Vendor-participant events such as this can be an important step in the process of gathering information and making well-informed decisions.
Focus On: Nurse Call
The days when the phrase “Nurse Call” meant little more than a flashing light above a patient’s door or an audible alarm at the nurse’s station are long gone. Technological innovation and convergence have transformed these systems into sophisticated patient monitoring, data collection and communication networks.
An integral part of modern patient care, today’s Nurse Call systems match patients with their designated care givers, transmit patient-specific information to responders and provide automated patient surveillance. When combined with real-time locating functions, they can address patients by name and “find” the closest available staff member in an emergency.
Nurse Call systems can also play an important role in clinical connectivity by linking patients and “smart” beds with monitoring equipment and IT systems to accumulate essential real-time data. This often results in more efficient, effective patient care – the primary goal of every great hospital.