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Nursing Communication Pain Points, Part 1

· Kim Tucker,

Much has been made about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) communication strategies over the past few years. But the discussions have primarily been about providers bringing their smartphones and connecting them to the organization’s Wi-Fi and accessing the facility’s EHR. Missing from these discussions are the clinicians, especially the nurses, employed by the facility. In a recent survey, 42% of hospitals interviewed “have made no investments in mobile communication devices because they believe existing options (pagers, overhead paging systems, and landline phones) are adequate to support nurses at the point of care.”1

In effect, nurses and other employees need to check their smartphones at the door and use outdated communication technologies to get their work done. This has led to an elephant in the room situation; the obvious but unacknowledged use of personal smartphones for clinical communication by nurses. During the 2014 ANCC National Magnet Conference,® I did a straw poll of the nurses about this situation and the overwhelming responses were: “I plead the fifth” or “Oh no, we don’t do that…wink, wink, nudge, nudge.”

But healthcare organizations can’t continue to overlook this situation, not when the possibilities of PHI being sent over unsecured messaging systems. But just to give nurses another device to carry isn’t the answer either. The single device strategy…long wished for…is finally here. Secure clinical voice and text communication with patient context, flowsheet documentation and barcoded medication delivery with one device is no longer just a dream. Add to that the ability to get notification of new/changed/discontinued orders immediately, not next time you log on to a computer. And don’t forget integration with nurse call systems, smart pumps, and monitoring equipment. A recent, unsolicited comment from an RN at one of our client site says it all: “I never want to work without my [PatientSafe] device again! If I ever think about leaving, the next place has to have them or I’m not working there.”
So, how do you think having a single pocket-sized device like this would impact your practice?

Reference:

1. Spyglass Consulting. March 2014. Point of Care Communications Study

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