3 Must-Haves when Designing Smart Room Technology for New Construction

Andy Figallo, VP of Partner Success at Vibe Health by eVideon shares insights from our new construction project with NJ-based Valley Health System

How can hospitals meet the growing demands of our technology-driven world while maintaining personal, patient-centered care? This question is especially relevant when planning and implementing new construction projects.

Our partners at Valley Health System, a regional healthcare system serving residents in northern New Jersey, is building the hospital of the future with this in mind. The New Valley Hospital, a 900,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to open for patient care in early 2024. The new hospital will feature all single-patient rooms equipped with 75-inch healthcare-grade Samsung Smart TVs at the footwall, powered by our Vibe Health smart room platform to deliver the optimal digital experience.    

This new construction project with Valley Health spotlights several key considerations for healthcare leaders who are evaluating smart room technology for their new facility, or actively working through the design and implementation phases. We recently hosted a webinar with Valley Health to discuss their approach to this project; here are three key takeaways we learned to improve patient experience and provider workflow in the hospital room of the future.

1.     Keep the patient and family informed.

It can be overwhelming for patients and families to endure a hospital stay. Medical personnel are constantly changing, there’s unfamiliar jargon, and new information may be translated between several layers of communication—physicians, nurses, case managers/social workers, therapists, and more before being delivered to the patient. As providers try to maximize efficiency and overall effectiveness, sometimes the key focus of care—the patient—is left out of the conversation.

One way to create a more streamlined and open communication channel is to eliminate antiquated technology, specifically the dry-erase board in the patient room. A digital whiteboard displays information in real time, giving patients and families increased access to items such as the medication schedule, clinical team member visits, and anticipated discharge date. Valley Health has customized Vibe Health’s Insight digital whiteboard to integrate with their electronic medical record (EMR) so that critical health information automatically displays in the room for patients, families, and care teams throughout the hospital stay.

The digital whiteboard keeps the patient and family up to date on their care plan and interactions with the care team. Vibe Health’s integration with a hospital’s Real Time Location System (RTLS) enables the display of notifications on the in-room television when a member of the care team enters the room. The design of the Insight digital whiteboard can also include staff photos, their role on the care team, and even a phone number if desired. If a patient’s family member happens to miss early morning rounds, they can review the visitor history on the digital whiteboard to see when their loved one was last seen by their doctor, nurse, therapist, or other member of the care team. The goal is to keep everyone informed.

In addition to the fully integrated digital whiteboard, Valley Health will use the in-room 75-inch TVs as a central communication hub. Each TV has been configured with the Vibe Health Engage solution to greet patients upon admission, orient patients to the hospital, provide access to available services, and deliver educational information about their care, medications, and procedures. Engage is also integrated with the meal ordering system, enabling patients to conveniently place their dining orders while ensuring they stay within specified dietary restrictions. These improvements close communication gaps and free up time for nurses and clinical staff to spend more time connecting with their patients at the bedside.

2.     Ensure the patient’s autonomy and control.

A hospital stay can be unsettling, and individuals can feel incredibly vulnerable during this time. One way to reduce stress is to give patients a sense of autonomy and independence throughout their stay. Even bringing some of the comforts of home into the hospital environment can help. Simple things like controlling the temperature of your room or opening your window shades make a big difference.  

At Valley Health, in-room technology leveraged at their new hospital is designed to return autonomy and control to patients.

  • Using Vibe Health Engage on the footwall TV, patients can watch live TV or movies for entertainment, play relaxation and/or spiritual content to give them comfort, and request their meals on demand.
  • Engage enables patients to complete feedback surveys about their stay and enter requests for services such as room cleaning when needed. These surveys and service requests trigger alerts to appropriate staff who can respond to feedback and requests in real time.
  • Using the pillow speaker, patients can regulate room temperature, raise and lower the shades, and adjust the lighting in the room.
  • Using Vibe Health Companion, our bedside tablet solutions, patients can browse the internet, check email, watch entertainment, and video chat with friends and family via our HIPAA-compliant video visit solution: Vibe Health HELLO.

Giving patients agency over these simple aspects makes their stay more comfortable so they can focus on recovery. It also relieves clinicians, specifically nurses, of many nonclinical responsibilities, freeing them to focus on more pressing tasks. Putting the power back in their hands in various ways makes a big impact on patient experience.

3.     Ease the burden on clinical staff.

Each day we see a new statistic spotlighting the labor shortages that continue to impact our industry, particularly in nursing. These workforce challenges will not go away if healthcare leaders do not prioritize creating a working environment that attracts and retains talented healthcare professionals.

Smart room technology automates many of the manual and administrative tasks that have burdened clinicians for years. With this technology, nurses and care teams can document once in the EMR and rest assured that their peers and colleagues across the care team receive the same information via the in-room TV, digital whiteboard, or a digital door sign outside the patient room.

With new construction, Valley Health has prioritized the use of smart room technology to ease the burden on frontline staff. One way they will accomplish this is with our Vibe Health Aware digital door signs placed outside each patient room. The Aware door sign integrates with Valley’s EMR to provide a quick and effective way for members of the care team to familiarize themselves with the patient before entering the room. Visibility into precautions such as simple hand hygiene or full PPE ensures clinicians take immediate and necessary action to protect themselves and the patient. Additionally, the digital door sign displays custom-designed icons that provide a visual of the patient’s needs such as fall risk, hearing impairment, allergies, dietary restrictions, and more. These icons will be standard across the entire hospital so that nurses floating to a new unit have clear directions for providing the best care foreach patient.  

Insight digital whiteboard also plays a major role in streamlining clinician workflow. Aside from eliminating the need to manually update the board (or even search for a working marker), the information displayed on the digital whiteboard helps keep staff informed of the patient’s needs. Valley Health will include information about the patient’s wishes with a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) banner, emergency contact information, and care considerations that match the information displayed on the digital door sign. All this information is integrated with the plan of care in the EMR to cut down on staff redundancy. The goal is for staff to document key considerations once in the EMR, and for that information to flow seamlessly to the digital whiteboard and digital door sign.

Clinicians have a lot on their plate and this technology helps them stay focused on delivering the highest quality care possible for each patient.

Quality, Effective, and Efficient Patient Care for the Future

Reducing barriers to care, communication, and connection is essential to driving better health outcomes for patients and creating more rewarding work environments for staff. Embracing technology can ease the burden for clinicians when the technology is thoughtfully designed to align with their workflow. We are proud to be working closely with the team at Valley Health to develop and implement our Vibe Health platform, supporting their goal to maintain the personal touch and always deliver on their reputation for clinical excellence and compassionate care.

> Watch the full video presentation from Valley Health System titled Inside the Patient Room of the Future at Valley Health

Contact us today to learn more about the Vibe Health smart room platform! hello@evideon.com