New patient application
Together with Western Norway Regional Health Authority, we have developed a new patient application that enables the patient to communicate their needs directly to the responsible nurse easily and with just a few keystrokes. The objective is both to reduce the number of distances walked, and at the same time make it easier for employees to prioritise tasks and inquiries.
With today’s cord pulling, you don’t know what the patients want until the nurse enters the room, and this often results in time-consuming double trips. Many private rooms and long distances present challenges and the need for increased efficiency. We also know that numerous patients are reluctant to pull the cord for what they think are trifles because they do not want to be at any bother.
Planned new builds will involve a large number of single-bed rooms and long distances. Central objectives in Western Norway Regional Health Authority’s strategy are efficiency gains in order to be able to handle all the single rooms, to create solutions that reduce the burden on staff, and to be able to keep the patients in single-bed rooms as safe as possible.
New patient application
In close collaboration with Western Norway Regional Health ICT, we have developed a new patient application that enables the patient to easily communicate their needs directly to the room manager / responsible nurse, and with just a few keystrokes.
Beneficial for patients in single and infection rooms
To assuage patient concerns about their requests going unnoticed, the app provides confirmation that the request has been registered and seen by healthcare staff. This is particularly valuable for patients in single rooms.
This is also beneficial for staff attending to patients in infection rooms. Instead of the lengthy process of donning protective gear, fetching a glass of water, then redressing to deliver it and undressing afterwards, they can communicate more efficiently.
In addition to requests such as bringing a glass of water or help with going to the toilet, patients can, through further authentication from the same application, gain access to relevant information related to their stay. For example, the patient will be able to find information about who is the responsible nurse and when you have appointments at the hospital, as well as other relevant information that the hospital has registered about you as a patient. By sharing information that is useful during a hospital stay, this will help to meet the patient’s need for information. It will also give the patient a better overview and control of their own everyday life as an inpatient, and potentially relieve healthcare workers.
Supplement to the pull cord
The pull cord will continue to exist for other types of notifications, and can also be used by patients who, for various reasons, cannot or do not want to use the digital solution.
High involvement of service and interaction designers has been important to ensure optimal user-friendliness and universal design. The application can be reached from the patient’s smartphone or tablet, and will facilitate that patients with impaired vision can use personal settings on their own digital devices.
User involvement in the development phase
User involvement of the new patient application has taken place through testing and involvement of experienced staff and inpatients at the Women’s Clinic in Bergen, Norway. Prototypes have been tested on different patient groups at different age levels, and the positive feedback regarding user-friendliness and motivation to use the solution is particularly welcome. The user committee, the reference group and representatives from the youth council have also been important resources in the development phase.
The first implementation will be at the Women’s Clinic in Bergen, commissioning in the autumn of 2023. Further, new hospital buildings in the Western Norway Region Health Authority will take their turn, e.g. new Stavanger University Hospital that opens during 2024.
Benefits to be expected
It is desired to achieve clearer communication and notification between patients and staff. Patients shall, as far as possible, have an overview of their daily plan and in that way be able to contribute to the care trajectory during their hospital stay. A well-informed patient will also be able to contribute to the patient pathway. It is a goal to be able to relieve employees and reduce unnecessary tasks. This could be ensuring that the patient is present for scheduled procedures, that staff can receive specific messages from the patient, or that it is the right staff member who receives information.
By giving patients an opportunity to specify that notification is critical through cord pulling, or less critical through the patient application, clinical personnel will be able to prioritise between tasks to a greater extent, and also receive information about the patient’s needs. This information will also be of significant value for the follow-up of patients in isolation rooms.
Furthermore, the solution facilitates efficiency benefits by, for example, the possibility to bring a glass of water to the patient without first having to go in to uncover the need. Otherwise, the clinical staff’s assessment of the patient’s condition will always be leading, and this also applies when following up on differentiated notifications.
Introduction of new functionality is continuous assessed. Opportunities to add content that both relieves staff and improves the patient’s stay are in the evaluation phase. This is just the beginning.