Grace Hospital in Ohio is commonly known as a high stress and high fatigue environment. Operating as a not-for-profit hospital, within a hospital, Grace handles patients with the most complex and serious cardiac conditions. While they only staff experienced and dedicated individuals, all four hospitals suffered from alarm fatigue, a struggling budget, and strained communication.
Alarm Fatigue and its Dangers
What is alarm fatigue? This term describes the kind of burnout that affects nurses and clinicians in a high stress environment. Seemingly, every minute of every day, alarms go off in a hospital - given that just about every patient monitoring equipment has an alarm. It often becomes difficult for nurses to differentiate between important, non-emergency alarms, and emergency alarms.
HipLink leads the way in providing solutions to this problem. With our technology, alerts are sent to nurses’ smartphones as an alarm goes off. This allows the nurse to immediately see the severity of the alarm and the choice to respond to it. HipLink’s secure messaging system also maintains patient confidentiality, while giving nurses the equipment they need to do their job.
High Costs for a Non-Profit
Fighting alarm fatigue was based on two main resources of Grace Hospital: cost and manpower. The nursing profession, always in-demand, created a recruiting challenge for Grace Hospital. This was due to its four locations and highly specific work. Given that the hospital is a not-for-profit organization, gathering funding presented a challenge for its less than ideal budget and this affected manpower conditions. Without money to invest in larger technological solutions, the hospital turned to staff members to ease the burden.
The hospital’s solution included setting up a “war room.” From there, clinicians monitored all alerts. When a crisis arose, they directed the nurses to answer it. While this solution was imperfect, it was better than nothing. Unfortunately, it ate into the budget and produced an unnecessary delay in treatment.
Now that HipLink and other services presented by AT&T are on the floor, these war rooms aren’t needed. This saves the hospital money by easing staffing problems. Nurses work the floor instead of being on monitoring duty. More gets done and individual patient care goes back to being the main focus.
Communication is Critical
Grace Hospital now faced the final hurdle of poor communication as the hospital was spread out over four locations. Moreover, each location was housed in a hospital-within-a-hospital. This posed unique challenges to communication. AT&T worked with Grace Hospital to set up a virtual private network that saved them money and supported HipLink messaging.
Not-for-profit hospitals like Grace Hospital face mounting obstacles to get the cutting-edge technology that they need. Ohio’s Cleveland area is better served now that Grace Hospital’s four locations are linked. Saving money on monitoring and cutting down on alarm fatigue allows nurses to put their focus back on individual patient care.
Read our Case Study on Grace Hospital & HipLink HERE.