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Simplifying Care Team Assignment Management Means Real Results

· Kathleen Harmon, MS, RN, CENP, Chief Clinical Officer

In October, we explored how the PatientSafe Care Team Assignment Framework can help health systems consolidate multiple assignment management systems and processes into just one. Now, let’s explore how our approach drives real world clinical outcomes.

PatientSafe strives for excellence by enabling the following through both our process and PatientTouch® communication platform:

  • Reliable delivery of time-sensitive patient alarms and clinical notifications to the right clinician
  • Timely STAT order, critical lab, sepsis, nurse call alerts, emergent alarms and discharge/transfer notification delivery
  • Appropriate communication escalation to reduce alarm and alert fatigue
  • Accurate, complete care team contact and task assignments to drive effective communication and collaboration
  • Unified role assignment management processes and systems
  • Immediate, accurate assignment synchronization between systems (EMR, alerting, PatientTouch)

A Proven Approach
The PatientSafe Care Team Assignment Framework has been validated in regional health systems, stand-alone community hospitals, and complex medical centers. The example below illustrates one of our partner hospital’s transformation.

Before PatientTouch:

  • Primary care team assignment (RN, PCT, and attending physician) done in the EMR with 50% compliance
  • 2nd source of assignment for the nurse call system
  • Assignment for ancillary roles was non-existent

The Impact: The inconsistent assignment compliance (lack of adoption) led to alarm and alert notification delays and slower response to patient needs and condition changes, impacting patient satisfaction. Further impacts included unreliable caregiver to caregiver communication and inefficient workflows impeding the ability to collaborate holistically with the entire care team.

With PatientTouch:

  • EMR role assignments involved in alerting, including RN, PCT and Respiratory, are completed in the EMR at the start of shift, and immediately flow to PatientTouch. PatientTouch pushes the assignments to the nurse call system, achieving a single source of assignment across these roles.
  • Responsibility for assignments shifted to the Unit Coordinator.
  • Real-time assignment adjustments are made based on ADT notifications and shift start/end.
  • PatientTouch integrations accommodate time-specific assignments made in the EMR in advance of start of shift, contributing to the drastically increased compliance rates. For example, 7am assignments can be made at 6am by the prior shift Charge RN, and will go into effect at the 7am shift change, ensuring continuity of alert delivery.
  • Self-assignment of ancillary roles is enabled through the PatientTouch mobile app.
  • Flexible alerting assignments based on each department’s model (patient or zone) is enabled.

The Impact:

  • ~100% assignment availability and compliance
  • Timely, appropriate alarm and alert notifications decreased fatigue
  • Expansion of care notifications to the complete cross functional care team improved communication reliability and care collaboration efficiency
  • Consistent, accurate, and reliable patient, care team and clinical context are delivered to the right care team member at the right time–right at the point of care


“The PatientSafe Care Team Assignment Framework has been validated in regional health systems, stand-alone community hospitals, and complex medical centers.”

– Kathleen Harmon, Chief Clinical Officer


It’s important to note that in the PatientTouch platform, assignment ownership is flexible, enabling:

  • Unit clerks and coordinators to assign via PatientTouch Desktop
  • Individual caregivers (i.e. RN) to assign via mobile application,
  • Specialty roles (RT, Pharmacy) to assign by unit or location via mobile or desktop

The PatientSafe Care Team Assignment Framework has a proven track record of success in consistently decreasing assignment burden, while enabling holistic, accurate and timely communication across the entire care team throughout our health systems.  We’d love to talk to you about how we can help.  Contact us to learn more.

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