By: Mike Maselli
Enhancing the patient experience is a major focus for today’s healthcare providers. Leveraging technology is one solution that can greatly improve the patient throughput and the overall patient experience.
RTLS (Real-time Locating System) and Bluetooth beacons are being implemented now to help hospitals reduce wait times and improve patient flow. Both the patients and care team wear these lightweight badges that emit low powered RFID signals. These badges help the care team know at any time where the patients and their colleagues are. This technology can also be integrated with a scheduling system to help know which rooms are available or ready to be turned over; exactly where patients are and their wait times; which doctors have seen the patient and which ones are still scheduled; determine the next steps in the process, etc. Also, with the installation of Bluetooth beacons working in connection with awareness applications, the caregiver is alerted when a patient arrives at a waiting room area or exam room and the patient is provided with an ETA of when the caregiver will be there. These technologies are a huge help to keep patients moving throughout a hospital or outpatient facility.
Technology is also being used to help patients with directions inside the hospital. Wayfinding is a great way to enable patients and caregivers to easily navigate throughout a hospital that typically can be a maze and difficult to locate the various departments. Bluetooth beacons can be installed with any wayfinding application that show up as a map on a patient’s smart phone that lets them know where they are in the hospital and directs them to the department they are trying to locate.
Hospital providers are also using technology in the patient room to help provide a better experience during their stay. Patient tablet integration is a great solution. This solution allows the patient, while in bed, to control their room environment by using a hospital provided tablet. This tablet allows the patient to control the TV/entertainment, internet access, video conferencing with family/friends, room temperature, and lighting. Many patients are in the hospital for day’s even weeks and this use of technology creates a calmer and more pleasant environment.
Providers are enhancing the communication with their patients through a patient portal. The providers give their patients a website address that allows the patients to access information on any device at any time. The portal contains information about appointment scheduling, health records, treatment information, care videos, etc. This patient portal greatly enhances the communication between caregiver and patient and between patient and family members.
EDI is currently working with several hospitals to implement all of these technologies. We work with the hospital stakeholders early in the process when planning a new healthcare facility to help establish a clear vision and strategy for technology objectives. This process also includes evaluating the benefits of how each technology solution will help impact clinical workflow and help improve the patient experience. We explain the overall cost to install these solutions during our visioning process as well and will work with the client to make sure their budget matches up with their goals and objectives. Once a vision and program is established, we will design these systems and help with procurement and oversee the installation process.