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Making Hospitals Safer: 3 Ways Interactive Solutions Are Helping

Acute Care December 9, 2016

The most recent data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimate that hospital-acquired conditions have declined 17 percent in the past four years.  The agency notes that “nearly 87,000 fewer patients died in the hospital as a result of the reduction in HACs and that approximately $19.8 billion in health care costs were saved from 2010 to 2014.” Why the decline? AHRQ points to numerous reasons:  financial incentives by CMS and other payers, more public transparency and reporting, and the availability of expanded resources supporting quality improvement initiatives.

Although that’s good news for hospitals, the work is “far from done,” when it comes to improving patient safety and lowering hospital readmissions, notes CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and CMO Patrick Conway in a recent blog post.

How can hospitals continue to bend the curve for quality improvement? Here are three ways to put your interactive patient engagement system to the task.

1. Provide clear discharge instructions

Hospitals can help reduce the likelihood of readmissions by providing clear, understandable discharge instructions. An Sentrics interactive patient engagement system begins preparing a patient for discharge literally from the start of the hospital stay. Nurses can assign patient education videos for the patient’s specific condition that the patient views on their footwall television, or a tablet, or bedside touchscreen monitor. The clinical team can reinforce the patient’s health literacy one-on-one at the bedside by answering questions the patient or family member may have after watching a video.

Prior to discharge, the interactive system delivers discharge instructions to the patient’s TV, as well as information on medications which the patient may be taking once at home. The patient leaves the hospital with a better understanding of their condition, their recovery protocol, the medications they have been prescribed and next steps in their care.

2. Controlling the spread of infection

Handwashing is the single most important factor in controlling the spread of infection.  The Sentrics E3 interactive patient engagement solutions help the care team convey that message through prescribed handwashing videos cued to appear in the patient’s in-box upon admission.

In addition, increasingly, Sentrics clients are using its site-wide notification capability to communicate visitation restrictions when needed to control the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases.

3. Reduce patient falls

Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in U.S. hospitals each year, according to The Joint Commission. Upwards of half of those result in an injury; the average costs of a fall with an injury is $14,000.

The Joint Commission points to communication failures as one of the key contributing factors in patient falls. It recommends, “one-to-one education of each patient at the bedside by trained health professionals using educational materials covering falls risk and causes, preventive strategies, and goal setting and review.”

The Sentrics interactive system makes that patient education seamless and easy, incorporated directly onto the patient’s footwall television. Many Sentrics clients make their falls prevention education videos mandatory for all admitted patients. The videos appear on the television screen as an “in-box” message to the patient, with no intervention required by the nursing staff.

While there’s no single panacea for improving patient safety, interactive systems are proving to be an innovative – and effective – component of effective quality improvement efforts.

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