Improve care team responsiveness and reduce alarm fatigue with an efficient notification service

According to a U.S. hospital study, approximately $12 billion is wasted annually due to poor communication among care providers. Of that money, 40 percent, or about 5 billion dollars, is due to latency in nurse communications. Another study in 2015 called “A call to action: Overcoming Communication Challenges in Hospitals,” from Accenture, reveals a typical 500-bed acute-care hospital can experience an annual economic burden of about $4 million due to time wasted in physician and nurse communications and a potential increase in length of patient stays.

Hospital communication guide thumbnail

The same logic applies to alarm latency that can, in extreme cases, impact even more seriously the patient’s health.

Thus, the second major hospital challenge on health and safety hazard is the alarm fatigue, exposing caregivers to many frequent alarms, and making them feel overwhelmed or distracted, and potentially desensitized to alarms. All those consequences can lead to longer response times or to missing important alarms. Tens of thousands of alerts may signal throughout a hospital each day, according to The Joint Commission, the organization that accredits American hospitals. Some 85%–90% of these alerts are false or nuisance alarms, indicating conditions that don’t require clinical intervention.

How can we help hospitals solve those challenges?

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, as a communication enabler, offers an orchestration platform, which centralizes alarm monitoring by sending the right notification message at the right place thanks to a smart routing mechanism. Hence, we help connect people, objects, services, and streamline hospital workflows.

This platform combines:

• A large variety of alarm and monitoring systems 
• Many standards commonly used by medical equipment and nurse call, fire alarm, building management systems  
• A communication system and collaboration tools

Thus, this platform brings them together as one, so they really optimize staff time, patient care and safety.

How does OpenTouch Notification Service optimize alarm workflows?

First, the notification platform collects and aggregates alarm triggered from various systems and connected equipment. Among these various external systems are industry specific alarm systems, pagers, nurse calls, fire alerts, wander prevention, industrial alarms and building management systems. The connected equipment can be a presence sensor, camera, smart-bed, floor sensor or even medical devices such as patient monitoring or infusion pumps from different brands (Dräger, Mindray, Philipps, General Electric, etc.)

Second, the notification platform enables a specific workflow depending on the situation - such as trigger location, calendar or availability to notify one person or a group of people in many ways, such as a call or text message on ALE phones, emails, SMS, social media, and more. The notification can likewise be made in mobility, in the hospital or outside, by means of a client software named SmartApp, running on a smartphone and raising the alarms.

Let’s illustrate those principles with two practical use cases based on a nurse call scenario:

A patient requires medical assistance, so he presses the nurse call button. As soon as the notification platform receives the alarm, it checks the nurses calendar to identify several nurses on duty. Calls are established towards the different kinds of phones of the available nurses. When a nurse acknowledges the call to accept the mission, notification on the other nurse’s phone is stopped. If there is no answer from any nurse, the notification platform can escalate and notify a chief nurse.

The nurse call system is generally used for medical inquiries; however, it is often misused for other service requests from the patient, such as a television access problem. The solution may offer the patient a self-service application to access the right person to resolve the issue without disturbing caregivers inappropriately. In case of a malfunction of the remote controller, the application sends a request to the appropriate technical service via chat, SMS, etc.

This kind of connectivity is possible through our orchestration platform, collaboration tool and APIs integrating into the patient self-service application.

This highly efficient orchestration platform is comprised of Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX® Enterprise, OpenTouch® Notification Service and Rainbow™ solutions. By optimizing the alarm workflows, this platform makes clinical staffs’ lives easier with less alarm fatigue, which contributes to enhancing care delivery quality as well as hospital efficiency and safety.

Learn more about how ALE healthcare solutions can help you deliver optimal care.

Tags - Healthcare, OpenTouch Notification Service

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About the author
Patrick Hourtoulle photo for blog author page

Patrick Hourtoulle

Solution marketing manager for Healthcare (Communications Market Enablement team) at ALE

Patrick is responsible for marketing and communicating on ALE communications solutions (value propositions, blogs, use case, etc.) for the healthcare industry.

He started his career as a developer engineer, then has gone on to work for nine years as a presales voice expert to support the ALE presales community. Since 2016, he has continued to bring his deep expertise to develop the communications marketing messages in the Healthcare team.

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