Patient needs could only get more intricate, whereas metrics for successful clinical outcomes continue to be standardized. One of the most effective ways healthcare facilities can gauge the quality of their customer service is through how well they respond to calls, which makes nurse call systems integral in a hospital’s infrastructure. Is your hospital’s nurse call on the verge of a breakdown?
Here are some tips to help you get a replacement that best suits your team’s more sophisticated needs and data-driven performance:
Budgeting and Approval
As one of the major decision-makers in your hospital, it is important to know how much money goes to acquiring your new nurse calsystem. You can determine this by researching current prices in the market. Come up with a cost estimate for low-end, average, and high-end models. These quotes will come in handy later.
The next part is having your budget approved. Now, your Chief Finance Officer will not approve simply out of the need to acquire a new nurse call. You need to prepare a thorough business plan, which should provide a detailed justification for the acquisition and how you plan to recover the invested amount. As early as this stage, you should be able to provide a summary of patient rooms, nurse stations, and auxiliary staff stations that you plan to include in the project.
The tricky part in the preparation of a business plan for big-ticket acquisitions like nurse call systems lies in historical performance figures. In other words, it is determining how much the existing system was utilized, how often it needed repairs and maintenance, and how long it lasted compared to how long it’s supposed to still function. This will form the basis for your revenue projection for the planned acquisition.
Also, for types of equipment like the nurse calls that patients don’t necessarily get charged for every use, you should know that it could be challenging to trace its profitability unless its use has its dedicated procedure charging code that medical personnel could encode to reflect in a patient’s billing statement.
Project Discussions and Product Demonstrations
Once you’ve gotten past the tedious budget approval stage, you can now tap the help of your purchasing team to call for reliable PBX vendors who are interested in the project. Wait several days and these bidders will be able to submit a brochure or booklet of their products that might just suffice your technical requirements. Decision-makers from the engineering, IT, biomedical engineering, communications, and healthcare departments should convene on these offerings and come up with shortlisted participants for subsequent project discussions.
The answers to the following questions should have already been agreed upon in a separate multi-disciplinary meeting before the scheduled project discussions with qualifying project contractors?
- Will call buttons and/or telephone units be installed per bed or room, meaning patients assigned in the wards would share the same units?
- What data do you need to store to help measure health outcomes related to responses to calls? How easy do you want recorded data to be extracted? Think of response times to calls for nurses, janitorial staff, deliveries of orders from the pharmacy, and most especially, the arrival of emergency response teams when the need arises.
- Are there unique mechanisms you want to be incorporated into the system? Do you perhaps need separate light indicators for every patient concern like room amenities, food, and fall alerts?
- How much do you want to integrate the system into the hospital’s PA system? How should PA personnel be alerted to announce codes or calling for rapid response teams?
- What problems should the new system be able to solve? Should it be able to reduce the need for nurses to page, therefore, reduce noise levels in the hospital’s premises? Should it be able to streamline the process of calling the proper staff to address whatever concern the patient or his family may have?
- Aside from turnaround times, are there other metrics like the net promoter score you want to improve with the new nurse call system? Are there studies that prove you can achieve these goals with the help of the new equipment?
- What necessary retro-fitting must be done to accommodate the new system?
The Actual Purchase, Delivery, and Commissioning
At the point of releasing the purchase order to the winning contractor, stakeholders should remain in coordination with each other to stay on track with committed work delivery timelines. Likewise, they share the responsibility of sticking to the terms stipulated in the memorandum of agreement. This will provide bases for matters like maintenance schedules, parts replacement, and warranty coverage.
Equipment acquisitions are difficult in itself, but a whole system like a nurse call requires thorough planning as it is not only a long-term investment, but it aims to digitize processes so personnel can deliver better services to their patients. Choosing the right model for your hospital, therefore, is crucial, especially during these times when the healthcare system is strained by a pandemic in full swing.