Enhancing Engagement to Mitigate Healthcare Risks

Enhancing Engagement to Mitigate Healthcare Risks

Lauren Prepchuk, Regional VP - Patient Transportation and Patient Observation, Crothall Healthcare

Lauren Prepchuk, Regional VP - Patient Transportation and Patient Observation, Crothall Healthcare

1. In your opinion, how has the Patient Monitoring landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?

Response: Historically, there have been significant variances in patient monitoring requirements across not only hospital systems, but even within a single hospital’s walls. This can result in significant risk. We wanted to find ways to mitigate this risk and keep hospital support staff and the patient in as safe of an environment as possible. Though it seems simple, engagement and communication are critical to protect not only the patient but also the clinical team and the person monitoring the patient. Our Patient Monitoring solution, which we call Patient Observation, ensures the necessary level of engagement and communication and utilizes technology in several ways:

Ensured engagement of the Patient Monitor 24/7.  Our solution utilizes our proprietary TeamLead technology on a locked-down iPad and is used by our patient observation associates to continuously document patient status. This provides clean, detailed patient status reporting, as well as supporting the additional needs of the highest risk of patients. For example, it includes Safe Room Checklists and Food Tray Checklists to document the environment and environmental changes as they occur. We monitor patient status every 15-minutes, and if the system detects a delay, an alert is automatically sent to our leadership team to investigate. This thorough, real-time, reporting allows us to guarantee engagement around the clock.

Enhanced Clinical Communication.  Healthcare, especially in these times, can be chaotic. Between heightened patient ratios and continuous shift changes, it is more important than ever that critical information about a patient be communicated efficiently and clearly. Utilizing our technology we’ve been able to create a platform to communicate important information to the clinical team and the next patient observation associate coming on duty to ensure we keep the patient as safe as possible at all times.

Protecting Patient Privacy. Communicating about a patient in front of them or in a semi-private room in front of others can be uncomfortable, especially when situations occur that cause escalation. Our technology allows swift communication to needed personnel without having to verbalize the concerns in front of the patient and others within earshot. 

Patient Safety and Comfort. Patient Monitoring ensures someone is with the patient during every minute of their stay. We experience everything with the patient in real-time. Our Patient Observation staff is empowered to identify changes needed and are encouraged to utilize the technology to communicate with the needed departments to facilitate the change. The technology provides a way to immediately communicate to those departments, a communication that traditionally would have had to wait until after the shift to be made.

Staff Safety. Patient Observation is about sitting with some of the most risk-prone patients during their hospital stay. Sometimes, this means sitting with aggressive patients that can harm themselves or harm others. By adding this real-time technology to our Patient Observation staff, we allow our team to quickly alert for help without escalating an already intense situation. 

"Between heightened patient ratios and continuous shift changes, it is more important than ever that critical information about a patient be communicated efficiently and clearly"

Regulatory Readiness. At Croth all Healthcare, we are well-versed in regulatory requirements and have learned what to anticipate during a survey. We’ve built this technology to allow us to instantly access information when requested and to far exceed the needs of regulatory compliance that ensures everything has been properly filed.

Staffing Communication. Patient Monitoring needs are often unplanned and can change by the minute. To keep staff apprised of patient needs and to ensure seamless coordination with nursing staff, we leverage technology to instantly communicate needs and to confirm fill times at the touch of a button.

What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Patient Monitoring landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?

Due to the sheer nature of the business, engagement of the staff and the ability to quickly react to any situation is critical. We need to provide our teams with the equipment they need to be successful. Additionally, because of the variance in those monitoring the patients without these tools, often hospitals mitigate risks by positioning a clinical team member in the room for hours at a time, which takes that team member away from providing the skilled clinical care they are trained to provide.Our Patient Monitoring service allows this position to be filled by a trained non-clinical staff member with the technology and training to support any situation, freeing up the clinical support team to support the clinical function at the bedside. At the end of the day, we are seeing as a result increased  nursing, patient and staff satisfaction.

1. Which are a few technological trends influencing Patient Monitoring today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?

When you discuss Patient Monitoring and technology, many think you are referring to the use of a camera or tele-monitoring to watch these patients. However, as many healthcare organizations have now come to find, cameras don’t adequately support the needs of higher risk patients.  Unfortunately, more times than I can count, many of these cameras end up in a storage room, unused, because leadership determines a camera isn’t enough. Tele-monitoring has its place. By combining its use for the lower risk patients with a one-on-one patient solution for the higher risk, we have seen tremendous success in outcomes, which includes minimizing patient falls, use of restraints, and escalated events.

4. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Patient Monitoring space?

I think in any space you can always find a way to innovate. Our Patient Observation Solution is extremely good. ButI’ve seen it evolve even in the short time we’ve provided the service - since April 2019 - and we’re always looking for ways to make it even better. We cannot shy away from or be scared off this need to further enhance at what we do. The technology piece will continue to evolve, and we are always looking for ways to elevate the service line. We know that healthcare is constantly changing, and the demand for tailored patient care will continue to grow, which is why every aspect of patient care needs to be continuously examined. The Patient Monitoring/Patient Observation solution is one proven way to ensure patient safety and to protect our skilled workers and keep them workingat the top of their license. 

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