Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Founded in 1908, Presbyterian Healthcare Services is New Mexico’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system. It includes eight hospitals; 100 clinics throughout the state; a growing, multi-specialty medical group; and a statewide health plan. Presbyterian is the second-largest private employer in New Mexico with more than 10,000 employees.
- Increase quality of patient care
- Improve patient experience
- Enhance nursing staff efficiency and satisfaction
- Reduced formal complaints about delayed response to call light by 85 percent
- Reduced formal complaints regarding lack of communication by 75 percent
- Reduced nurse response time to 2 to 3 minutes
- Improved average answer time for patient calls to be within 11 seconds
At Franciscan Health Michigan City, many staff members from several departments need to be notified during code STEMIs for heart attacks. Before finding a solution to improve the process, emergency department unit clerks at Franciscan Health Michigan City were required to page each department individually.
Since it wasn’t possible to determine whether a page was delivered, the unit clerk would often have to find staff members with follow-up pages or phones calls. The manual process slowed notification and response times.
There’s never enough time. That was the constant refrain of the nursing staff at Presbyterian Healthcare Services hospitals. As dedicated professionals, they wanted to spend more time with their patients, but were often pulled away by other responsibilities.
“Nurses said they spent too much time hunting and gathering items for patients,” said Michelle Jones, executive director of the Presbyterian customer service center. “Patients told us that nurses were often distracted and always busy.”
With too much to do and many competing demands, nurses found themselves constantly on the run, performing tasks that they considered to be secondary to their mission.
“Our nursing staff wanted to improve the patient experience. They wanted to spend time at a patient’s bedside without feeling rushed,” explained Jones.
"We have seen improved productivity of our clinical staff and improved satisfaction, but the best result has been our ability to improve patient satisfaction. With better, more efficient communications, we have allowed our nurses to focus on making the patient experience the best it can be. "
Staff members believed that enhanced technology could give them back the extra time they needed.
The question was, how could some tasks be streamlined so that nursing staff would have more time to spend on what was most important: providing outstanding patient care. The answer was surprisingly simple.
The staff found that their Rauland-Borg® nurse call system was underutilized; it needed additional functionality in order to provide clinicians with a more efficient means of communication. The missing piece was the Spok® Messenger clinical alerting solution, which integrates with the nurse call system to send patient calls to the nursing team.
When the solution was integrated with their existing system, it opened up a number of options for increased efficiency.
“Once we were able to take advantage of additional functionality, we could determine patient needs immediately by getting detailed information either via text or voice,” said Jones. “Now a patient can call for assistance, and we can respond appropriately instead of using valuable time walking to their room to find out what they need.”
An integrated support services team now responds to every nurse call request and sends a text message to the appropriate individual or team. After a three-month trial and continuous quality improvement efforts, the new system is proving invaluable: It currently covers 377 beds and handles 1,400 patient calls a day through Spok’s integration with the nurse call system.
The results have been dramatic. There has been an 85 percent reduction in formal complaints regarding delayed response to patient call lights, and a 75 percent reduction in formal complaints regarding a lack of communication. Patient calls are now answered within 11 seconds on average, and the nurse response time has been cut to between 2 and 3 minutes.
“We have seen improved productivity of our clinical staff and improved satisfaction,” said Jones. “But the best result has been our ability to improve patient satisfaction. With better, more efficient communications, we have allowed our nurses to focus on making the patient experience the best it can be.”