Too often, hospitalized patients are passive participants in their own care. But interactive patient technology is starting to change that. Creating a culture of patient empowerment is a win for patients and providers alike, giving patients greater control and helping educate them about their conditions while also improving health in the general population and enhancing hospitals' satisfaction scores.
Florida Hospital Celebration Health invested in GetWellNetwork as the cornerstone of an ongoing initiative to raise patient satisfaction and the health of the general population, says Sandra Reeder, director of nursing, in an interview. But it took more than simply buying a piece of equipment to transform the hospital's culture.
"The GetWellNetwork is just the technology piece," Reeder explains. "We had to have our culture around the technology. If you don't have the culture, it's not going to move."
To ensure it had both pieces in place, Florida Hospital Celebration involved key staff members early, Debbie Laughon, director of professional development and clinical excellence, says. The Nurse Practice Council, for example, helped develop content for GetWellNetwork, explained the technology to peers, and worked with the steering committee and "super users" to advocate the approach and technology across the hospital.
Florida Hospital delivers GetWellNetwork's platform via patients' in-room television sets. When a hospital employee enters a room, for example, his or her name appears on the patient's TV screen. This personalized technology, which is customized upon a patient's admission, also displays options such as meal menus. It allows patients to contact hospital departments such as nurses, technical support staff for TV or phone problems, and the nutrition department for meal issues or special requests. The system tracks requests, compliments, and complaints, Laughon says, and the hospital uses this data for employee training, personnel allocation, and human resources.
Terrie Ambrogio (L) and Sandra Reeder (R) ensure patients have a voice in their care at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. (Image: InformationWeek)
Each quarter, she adds, Florida Hospital Celebration uses GetWellNetwork data to recognize nurses with DAISY Awards, given for outstanding service to patients and their families. While the ability to reward nurses for providing extraordinary care is one reason caregivers have embraced the program, she says, GetWellNetwork also reduces the workload. When patients can directly contact departments for needs such as blankets, water, or TV assistance, nurses can spend more time on medical tasks that require their special training.
Terrie Ambrogio, a staff nurse at Florida Hospital Celebration Health, agrees. "It takes away a lot of [time spent] running out, making phone calls, then waiting for the call back." Because nurses are no longer involved, the number of service calls has been cut in half. Engineering calls typically get a response within an hour instead of much longer, Ambrogio notes, and nutritionists often respond to patients' calls within five minutes.
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Alison Diana has written about technology and business for more than 20 years. She was editor, contributors, at Internet Evolution; editor-in-chief of 21st Century IT; and managing editor, sections, at CRN. She has also written for eWeek, Baseline Magazine, Redmond Channel ... View Full Bio