Interactive Patient Care Platforms

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Interactive Patient Care Platforms have held a number of names – my favorite being “Infotainment” the cross section of entertainment and information on one platform. My perspective is that the cool factor of the platform is it has an ability (far beyond any other platform in the hospital) to transcend the walls of the hospital into the home. Driving a reason for a hospital to continue a relationship beyond the encounter.
As a tool to continue the relationship beyond the encounter, the primary focus of today’s IPC market is to drive education to the patient regarding their condition, treatment, and on-going lifestyle changes.  Delivering targeted education becomes a critical touch-point to the patient and emotional connection to their family.  The infotainment aspect of the IPC market can drive prescribed content via a hospital branded ap directly to the patient and their family.    While we could get lost in the overarching value proposition of the product – education – Gartner has driven an expanded vision of this product in the market.
In Gartner’s design model the Interactive Patient Care Platform creates a tool that allows the patient to physically generate a request/ need. This fills the gap presented in the my last blog on Alerts and Notification platforms. The A&N products have no means to initiate an action from the patient only to receive and transfer.
IPC Vendors suggest transferring the concierge patients request to an IPC platform. This will create a self-service model that enables the patient to utilize their “television” screen (or smart device – even byod) to request things traditionally requested thru the Nurse Call platform. The theory is by removing a portion of the requests from the “Big Red Button” it will decrease workload.  Similarly to how the airlines require you to use the website for everything so it reduces the calls to an agent. It locks in compliance, and reduces their overall cost.  (Note: Current platforms cannot replace the big red button completely as it is regulated by the government.) While this does enable a different method for the patient need to be transferred from one location to another, I wonder if it really solves for the overall challenge of patient communication. If we are only changing how a call is generated, are we really creating a new paradigm for communications?
Bob Sullivan, General Manager for Sonifi Health put it this way:  “Originally, Nurse Call functioned more like a 911 service–only alerting staff to critical needs. The current use of the Nurse Call button has changed to where it is now the primary method patients use for communicating all their requests. This continually interrupts the nursing process as there is no way to differentiate between a patient in sudden pain or one who would like an extra pillow. Our interactive solution allows patients to make non-critical requests through their TVs and phones. That’s impactful because critical needs get addressed sooner but non-critical requests are also resolved more efficiently when staff can come to the room prepared or quickly issue the request to other hospital services.”
I would suggest that Gartner’s real intent is not to replace nurse call with the IPC platform. If we simply replace one technology for another then all we do is move the issue – Gartner’s model suggests rethinking how patients communicate with their care team and how the care team communicates about the patient.  You will find a similar mindset when we examine Clinical Communication & Collaboration Platforms in the next blog. Replacing your Cisco Wireless Phone with a Smart Phone is a very different workflow – very different mindset – it’s critical to think it thru as a new communication paradigm and not a technology replacement.
Ask yourself the question – am I just shifting my cost from one vendor to another in hopes to find a new way? Or am I designing the workflow and patient interaction that will work for my hospital and REQUIRING my vendors to step into that concept…..very different. How is the data impacting how we accomplish our daily goals?
We have a list of questions and considerations for hospitals who are looking at IPC platforms and considering their use to replace some aspect of traditional nurse call. If your hospital is creating a road map for a multifaceted patient communication design models – drop us a line we would love to continue the conversation with you.
Also, download Gartner’s Paper written by Barry Runyon – “Is Nurse Call Necessary?”

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