“Finally, a company that doesn’t put its products on spinning pedestals but instead shows the product being used in a healthcare environment.”
This is a comment I heard over and over again as they walked into our booth at the recent HIMSS Conference from Healthcare IT professionals. Of course they wanted to see new products and innovations but more importantly they were interested in the day-to-day workflow issues nurses and other caregivers face, and about how any product can help how they interact with information and their patients.
At Ergotron we have this conversation in the field every day. How to effectively bring information to the point-of-care while at the same time allowing for the caregiver to be comfortable. Caregivers need to deliver patient-centered care at its best while the caregiver remains healthy, happy and focused.
Ergotron coined the term Triangle of Care 15 years ago. Mind you, this is long before the myriad of cart vendors and flat panel monitors and tablets we know today were even thought of as being useful, if not necessary, for Healthcare applications. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as I saw one of our competitors using this term in their marketing materials at HIMSS.
I still remember drawing this picture below at a customer site in 2003 (yes, I’m a digital data hoarder):
Fortunately our marketing department does a better job at this than I do and we have a great graphic now:
Giving caregivers and IT staff the flexibility to create an environment like this is what we do best. Being able to see through all the gadgets per se, to the underlying structure required to help keep caregivers connected to their patients, while comfortably interacting with their data.
Why am I bringing this up? Early in April, the Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert, warning that while electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT have the potential to improve care quality and safety, such technologies can pose inherent risks to patients.
The alert cited an analysis of event reports received by the Joint Commission showing that between January 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, hospitals reported 120 health IT-related adverse events and about 33% stemmed from human-computer interface usability problems.
In the safety guide related to the alert they stated: “Rapid, reliable access to the patient’s computer-based record is essential for safe and effective care. Such access depends critically on configuring the EHR in clinical care areas such that a computer is always conveniently available.”
In other words, an efficient triangle of care is useful in creating an environment that allows for safe and effective care.
In this scenario, the caregiver is a critical player. We concentrate specifically on the caregiver because we know, if the caregiver isn’t comfortable they may not be able to provide or will not provide quality care.
It’s really that simple. All workstations need to adjust to the user’s ergonomic needs while at the same time allow for easy access to the patient. It needs to be both and that creates a positive workflow.
If in real-estate the three most important things are location, location, location then in point-of-care computing the three most important things are workflow, workflow, workflow. A great workflow that takes both patient care and the caregiver’s needs into consideration will lead to less mistakes and an increase in quality of care. I guarantee it!
Steve Reinecke, MT (CLS) CPHIMS, AVP Healthcare @ Ergotron