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Designing Clinical Communications – Part 1

· Grace Hua

How to meet Nursing, IT, and Administration needs

In the process of designing clinical communications solutions, our product team constantly reminds ourselves that the person using our product, the person deploying our solution, and the person signing the contract, are not the same. The challenge is designing technology so that Nursing, IT, and Administration don’t have to make trade-offs between usability, interoperability, and value.

We’ve broken it out to three driving mantras to consider:Product Development

  1. Technology designed for patient care
  2. Platform architected to easily integrate and deploy
  3. Outcomes that deliver ROI

Technology designed for patient care

Clinicians have one objective—provide the best care for patients. So when we introduce technology into their workflow, they would naturally expect it to help them meet that objective. How do we (product designers and hospitals) make sure that the next mobile app or medical device we put into the clinician’s hands actually makes sense to their workflow and addresses an existing pain point? 

Our clinical and product teams engage every hospital to best understand their current state workflows. Through this process, hospitals often find surprising workflow bottlenecks that clinicians deal with on a daily basis—i.e. nurses have to dial three different phone numbers before they reach the right physician to contact or three phlebotomists show up at the same room because STAT orders are ineffectively triaged. Once these pain points are identified, it’s a matter of finding the right technology that can be tailored to meet workflow needs. 

Platform architected to easily integrate and deploy

Hospital IT has one objective—ensure the security, reliability, and manageability of technology infrastructure. So when we introduce technology into their environment, they would expect it to fit in with the systems already in place. Designing and investing a technology platform that can interoperate with other systems is critical in avoiding integration pain. Further, a platform that can extend and evolve with clinical needs prevents us from continuously investing in single-use technology. 

Outcomes that deliver ROI

Hospitals, like any other business, need to justify their investments. So when technology investment is brought in for consideration, administration would expect it to deliver ROI. From hard ROI like reduced device management overhead to soft ROI like clinician and patient satisfaction, when a technology improves patient care and optimizes a hospital’s IT environment, outcomes yield true returns on investment.

So whether you are innovating technology for care delivery or investing in solutions for clinicians, it’s important to be aware of the objectives across all stakeholders. This doesn’t mean that we have to pick one objective over the other—technologies that deliver usability, interoperability, and returns are the ones to result to better outcomes. 

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