Smart Room Technology Lets Clinical Teams Focus on Patient Care

Heather Wood, CPXP, VP, Clinical Innovation, eVideon

The topic of burnout is not new to anyone in healthcare. Burnout occurs almost twice as often in healthcare practitioners as it does in the general population. Unfortunately, burnout has been a point of discussion for far too long in our industry, and the impact on clinicians, specifically nurses, is evident by the rate at which nurses are leaving the profession.

Recently, Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, issued a special advisory sounding the alarm on health worker burnout. In this, Dr. Murthy lays out recommendations that healthcare leaders can take today to address factors contributing to burnout and also improve worker well-being. One specific recommendation is to reduce the administrative burdens placed on healthcare workers, based on a study that showed on average, for every hour of direct patient care, a clinician will spend two hours a day on administrative tasks. That valuable time could be spent building relationships with patients, which is essential to strengthen the health and well-being of both health workers and patients.  

As part of this report, Dr. Murthy points to healthcare technology and the need for IT systems to be interoperable, equitable, and designed with the healthcare worker in mind. Our hospital and health system partners have found that when technology is designed with the clinical workflow in mind, it can relieve nurses of administrative tasks and enable them to focus on what drove them into the profession in the first place: delivering high-quality, clinical care.

Smart room technology can radically transform clinical workflow. One example of this is education assignment and documentation. Integration between a hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR)system and the in-room Smart TV allows nurses to assign education via the EMR, send the educational content directly to the patient’s in-room TV, and automatically document completion in the EMR once the patient has watched the assigned content.

Let’s look at three additional ways hospitals are using smart room technology to save nurses steps and elevate the healthcare experience for all.

  1. Automating Non-Clinical Service Requests—Turn the TV in the patient room into an interactive tool for patients to make requests including food service, housekeeping, or spiritual care from the convenience of their room. By eliminating paperwork and reducing the reliance on the nurse call button, hospitals can save nurses time, and most effectively and efficiently service patients by automatically routing the request to the proper department.

    NCH Healthcare System
    recently designed and deployed a comprehensive “How Can We Help?” menu on the in-room Smart TV, which offers patients and families direct access to 24 different services across nine departments with the touch of a button. As a result, patients no longer have to wait long periods of time for responses to simple requests and nurses don’t have to spend time on non-clinical tasks.
  2. Digital Pulse Surveys—Surveys are an effective tool for monitoring satisfaction but the wait for survey data can often hinder a hospital’s ability to perform real-time service recovery. Capturing patient feedback via the in-room TV with point of care pulse surveys enables hospitals to listen to the voice of the patient and address dissatisfiers before they become an HCAHPS issue. When patients feel their voice is being heard by someone other than their clinical team, it can reduce the number of complaints and/or requests directed to the nurse and enable them to focus on clinical care.  

    River’s Edge Hospital has been using in-room pulse surveys since 2021, issuing targeted survey questions at specific times of day. Examples include cleanliness of the room, overall quality of the food, explanation of medicine side effects, ability to sleep at night, and likelihood to recommend. Negative responses that are below top box ratings are automatically routed to the Chief Experience Officer for immediate service recovery. Access to this real-time patient feedback data has enabled River’s Edge to realize measurable improvements in key focus areas. Specifically, over a 12-month period they have seen a 21-point increase in food quality on their Press Ganey patient experience survey. To learn more about how River’s Edge uses in-room technology to support their patient experience strategy, view The Beryl Institute's PX Marketplace Webinar.
  3. Digital Door Signs—A digital door sign outside the patient room can display important patient and care team information fed directly from the EMR, including precautions, diet order, labs ready, service requests, cleaning status, and any other helpful information about that patient and room. Changes made in the EMR are updated in real-time on the digital door sign through an integration, enabling nurses to use the EMR as the source of truth. When touchscreens are enabled, workflow tools can be accessed directly from the touchscreen to help set reminders and automate processes for nurses.

    As part of their “Patient Room of the Future” initiative, Tampa General Hospital (TGH)leverages custom designed digital door signs on an iPad and has fully integrated the software with their Epic EMR. The digital door sign was designed to align to clinical workflow, with display icons that were specifically designed to mirror the design of the magnets that nurses had previously used outside of the patient room. Touchscreen capability on the TGH door sign enables nurses to turn certain information on or off as determined by hospital leadership, whereas other information is locked and can only be modified via the EMR. Additionally, integration with real-time location services (RTLS) enables TGH to display the name of the staff person currently in the room on the digital door sign. This feature is particularly helpful in locating staff, or during a code event when a key staff member is required.

Technology has the power to make life simpler. When properly designed, it can simplify the healthcare experience for patients and all who care for them. Smart room technology is well positioned to bring process improvement, institute intuitive workflows, drive better patient satisfaction, and most important, enable nurses to focus on key areas of clinical care. There’s no time like the present to transform.  

For more information on the above use cases or to discuss your organization's specific initiative, email me to learn more!