If Nurses are hiding equipment so they know where to find it, there’s an inventory issue that needs to be addressed.
When it comes to ordering patient equipment direct from patient rooms for immediate use, Nurses often have limited options. In response to patient care, they must go through a series of often complicated processes and inter-departmental procedures to get needed equipment. The problem with this approach is that they need the equipment now. It must be clean, on time and ready for service. Often, internal supply chains create needless wait times for patient treatment and amelioration.
“Frontline care Clinicians and staff in hospitals spend at least 10% of their time working around operational failures: situations in which information, supplies, or equipment needed for patient care are insufficient… Materials flow through multiple departments as they make their way from the start of the process to the patient. For example, equipment needed for patient care flows through multiple departments as it is unloaded from delivery trucks, moved to storage, delivered to the nursing unit, used on the unit, and then cleaned after use and returned to service.“1
“Only Nurses have both the medical knowledge to translate the order into equipment needs for their patients and the responsibility for implementing the Physician’s plan of care. Consequently, Nurses compensate for the support department’s inability to translate the Physician’s orders by searching in real time for the necessary equipment to execute an order. This action consists primarily of workarounds where the Nurse gathers equipment that was supposed to be provided by support departments.”1
Eliminate the Workarounds for Patient Equipment
“In hospitals, operational failures— missing information, supplies, or equipment necessary to complete one’s work tasks—can erode staff efficiency and contribute to staff burnout and medical errors. Despite the seriousness of their impact, the most common response to operational failures is to work around them without expending additional effort to prevent recurrence. In fact, studies have found that workarounds to operational failures consume around 10% of Nurses’ time — a significant amount given that Nurses account for one-fourth of hospitals’ budgets.”1
“Because errors are caused by system or process failures, it is important to adopt various process-improvement techniques to identify inefficiencies, ineffective care, and preventable errors to then influence changes associated with systems.”2
On Demand Patient Equipment and Inventory Management
The Support Terminal from HCI and our partner, CenTrak®, provides caregivers with an automated portal for equipment or service ordering, so they have the patient equipment they need when they need it. With simple touches to the patient whiteboard and virtual keyboard in a patient room, caregivers eliminate time-consuming workarounds they may have created over time. Here’s an example of a dangerous and inefficient workaround for patient equipment. According to this unofficial source, “I know of an instance at a hospital system where staff were hiding IV pumps over the ceiling tiles so they had access to them when they needed them. That’s not uncommon.” Safety and infection risk issues aside, that staff member created a workaround to make sure they had patient equipment when they needed it.
The “Order” option in the HCI Support Terminal uses integrated software and a simple user interface to maintain a clean, ready-to-go inventory of patient room equipment. Caregivers simply touch the “Order” option in the Support Terminal module on the Patient Whiteboard or on their mobile device app, select the equipment and quantity they need from an image library, and input their location information. They can select the time interval for delivery and specify a level of urgency. An order automatically generates, and an acknowledgement is sent.
The Support Terminal with the On Demand Ordering option isn’t limited to patient equipment. Since the module is 100% configurable and integrates with existing systems, it offers nonclinical service ordering for Maintenance requests, PPE requests, and EVS requests. The Support Terminal can be used to order other patient-related services like requesting a chaplain, laundry and linen services, or scheduling pet therapy. Back-end reporting allows administrators to monitor and report on inventory, scheduling and productivity.
On demand equipment and service ordering eliminates workarounds and makes it possible for nursing staff and Care Teams to devote more time to quality patient care and treatment with equipment delivered on time, every time!
Schedule your virtual demo today and see how easy it is to improve staff satisfaction and eliminate costly bureaucratic processes for your team – and most importantly, for your patients.
1 Tucker AL, Heisler WS, Janisse LD. Designed for workarounds: a qualitative study of the causes of operational failures in hospitals. Perm J. 2014;18(3):33-41. doi:10.7812/TPP/13-141
2 Hughes RG. Tools and Strategies for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. In: Hughes RG, editor. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2008 Apr. Chapter 44. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2682/