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Connecting two best practices with technology to enhance patient experience

February 08, 2018
Health IT
Courtesy: Hunt Regional
By Debby Clack

At Hunt Regional Medical Center in Northeast Texas, effective patient communication creates the foundation for delivering personalized care and achieving optimal outcomes.

Care team members at Hunt Regional aim to build trusted relationships with patients, and in doing so, there is no substitute for providing consistent communication across the care continuum. Effective communication between nurses and their patients can spark more engagement and understanding during a hospital stay and after discharge, which can improve patient experience, care plan compliance and outcomes.

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To realize the many benefits of better patient communication and engagement, our 114-bed hospital combined two best practices: nurse leader rounding during a hospital stay, and follow-up calls 24-72 hours after patient discharge. While many hospitals conduct nurse leader rounds and make follow-up calls, Hunt Regional is using technology to optimize both practices. By connecting the patient touch points with technology, our nurses can capture patient voice in real time and track patient experience at important points along the way.

The human-centered technology makes the two practices more meaningful than checking a box that a task was completed. Prior to hardwiring the rounding process with a mobile communication solution, Hunt Regional used a paper-based process, which made it difficult to track patient comments and follow up on requests in a timely manner. Paper-based rounding also was not conducive to monitoring trends, identifying potential gaps in processes, or reporting performance metrics.

Solving the paper-based problem
The Hunt Regional management team wanted a solution to simplify and standardize the rounding process. They also wanted a tool to extend patient engagement beyond the four walls of the hospital to create a seamless experience of care and help reduce readmissions by improving care plan compliance.

Hunt Regional’s decision on which technology to implement was not a difficult one. As a long-time customer of Vocera, hospital clinicians have used the company’s communication technology for many years to collaborate. So, when the leadership team learned about Vocera Rounds and Vocera Care Calls, we agreed that the solutions together could meet our patient engagement and experience goals.

Two solutions working together
Three designated nurses, equipped with the rounding application on an iPad, conduct rounds throughout five units. They talk with patients to identify their personal goals, assess their needs, determine readmission risks, and understand details of nurse call requests. After performing daily rounds and capturing patient feedback in the app, they lead central huddle board discussions to help team members understand common trends discovered through patient comments and collaborate on ways to make immediate improvements.

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