This article was originally published in the Worcester Telegram’s Salute to Nurses and written by Andrea Badrigian.
When you’re in the hospital, your entire life is disrupted. Not only are you feeling sick and uncertain about a full recovery, you’re also concerned about the other components that make up your world. Are the things that are important to you being taken care of, too?
The nursing team at UMass Memorial Medical Center knows that hospitalized patients need more than medication; patients need a conversation that quickly resolves issues arising during their stay, so they can focus on getting better.
Nurse Manager Lori Peasley, RN, and Clinical Coordinator Sandra Fayorsey, RN, are members of a new nursing leadership team piloting a new approach to daily patient check-ins. With iPad in hand, they are fast-acting problem solvers, proactively addressing patients’ concerns and freeing up bedside nurses to dedicate their every moment to care.
“CipherHealth’s digital rounding technology takes patient rounding to a whole new level,” explained Sandra. Now, when she or Lori learn from a patient that their meal plan needs an adjustment or notice a floor requires cleanup, they send a message to the dietary or housekeeping departments on the stop. “It shows as an email alert, and we can include a photo, say of a spill’s location, for a more efficient response,” said Sandra.
“CipherHealth’s digital rounding technology has easily shaved more than an hour off the time we used to spend filling out paper forms, entering info into our computers, and making calls to various departments,” Sandra added.
There’s more time now for conversations with patients.
“We understand where patients are coming from, and what would make their stay and eventual discharge easier,” said Lori. “Patients are very appreciative that the focus is on them, and that it’s coming from leadership responding quickly to their issues.”
Both noted that it’s the simple things that can frustrate or worry a patient, impeding their recovery.
“I learned from an elderly patient that the amount of food we were giving him each day was more than he eats in a week. It was so overwhelming for him and he became agitated,” said Sandra. With her iPad, she immediately sent a message to dietary requesting smaller proportions. “He was thrilled.”
“Another patient told me he had a cat at home and no one was feeding it,” Lori said. “He threatened to leave the hospital. So, I contacted a local agency and they fed his cat. We showed him the pictures they took! It was through my conversation with him that we were able to discover this concern, solve the problem, and keep him in the hospital.”
CipherHealth’s digital rounding technology puts Lori, Sandra, and their co-workers “back in the care line of management” while strengthening their partnership with nursing staff. “It’s really a win-win. Nurses come let us know the patients we should visit right away. It’s so helpful to be able to respond quickly when nurses raise this need,” said Sandra.
With this success, UMass Memorial is expanding CipherHealth rounding across the Medical Center. The technology provides a wealth of data, offering opportunities to refine questions and make improvements, such as ensuring that the vital information on white boards in patients’ rooms is complete.
“What’s truly been amazing is the significant increase in patient satisfaction, as measured by a survey that patients take after they leave the hospital,” said Lori. On her unit, the patient satisfaction score increased by an amazing 10 points within the first two and a half months of the pilot’s launch.
Lori and Sandra say they look forward to the day when another feature of the technology is implemented: “celebration emails.”
“We’ll be able to immediately send an email to any employee a patient praises as a result of their care here,” said Lori, emphasizing how important it is to recognize exceptional nurses. It’s just further evidence of what she says is the “understanding that it is ‘patient first’ at UMass Memorial.”
To learn more about CipherHealth’s award-winning digital rounding solution, check out these resources: