Niagara Health innovates with patient satisfaction system
November 30, 2016
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Niagara Health, a multi-site care provider, is developing and using innovative systems that include a real-time system to gauge patient satisfaction, a wireless system for patient portering within hospitals, and a secure messaging system for doctors that enables physicians to send messages and share patient information, including test results.
“Our people at Niagara Health are making a difference,” says Niagara Health president Dr. Suzanne Johnston (pictured). “The teamwork, fresh thinking and innovation taking place are having an important impact on the care we provide our patients. An added benefit of this commitment to continuous quality improvement is our success in recruiting great people to work and volunteer at our hospital.”
Patient satisfaction survey results in real-time
Niagara Health recently launched a real-time patient satisfaction measurement tool that includes an escalation process for timely resolution of their concerns.
This technology, developed by Niagara Health’s Information and Communications Technology team, allows trained volunteers to visit patients in their rooms using a hand-held tablet to complete the survey. The volunteers ask patients five questions covering areas such as whether a doctor or nurse explained their care in a way they can understand, the involvement they had in decisions about their care and how they would rate the care they received.
Any need not being met triggers an automatic email, using Connexall technology, to the Clinical Manager of the unit, signalling to the manager that there is a patient concern that needs to be addressed.
Being able to collect and act upon “in-the-moment feedback” can make all the difference in the experience of our patients and creates new learning opportunities for both staff and leaders.
Patient in-house transportation
Niagara Health’s new portering system was launched in 2013 to make patient transfers within the hospital faster and smoother, whether for a diagnostic test, procedure or other need.
Niagara Health worked with Connexall (an integrated technology solution company) to develop an automated notification system that allows all hospital staff involved with patient transports to follow a patient’s status or movement along the route in real-time on a monitor.
Automating the workflow of porters has significantly improved patient transport times from one location in the hospital to another, and has generated positive feedback from both patients and staff.
Reduced wait times for transfers translate into better experiences for the patients and a greater ability of porters to manage their workloads.
Here’s how the program works: Porters receive transport requests directly through a dedicated wireless phone system; those issuing the request for a patient transport are advised the moment it is received and accepted by the porter who will be managing the task. The task can be escalated if more or alternate resources are needed.
The system provides up-to-the-minute details on each task to ensure a more seamless process for patients and staff. As a result, patients receive better service and staff on the units spend less of their valuable time coordinating and following up on transfers.
Smartphone app connects doctors
Another innovative tool is used by physicians to quickly and securely communicate with one another on their smartphones. They can share test results and other key patient-related information, ultimately resulting in more timely care for patients.
Working with IBM and Vocera Communications, Inc., Niagara Health designed and deployed this innovative smartphone app that allows Niagara Health physicians to instant message each other through their personal smartphones.
The application lets the user know when a message has been sent, received and read. Unlike a paging system, the sender knows that their message has reached the correct person in one easy step. This tool also has built-in contact lists that allow users, for example, to reach the on-call physician without having to know who is on call.
Most importantly, the information shared is secure as it is stored on servers housed on Niagara Health property. Doctors can now send patient information like diagnoses and X-ray results to each other through their own smartphones without risking a breach in patient privacy.
Niagara Health’s Information and Communications Technology department worked with the hospital’s doctors to customize the app to specifically meet their communication needs.
Other hospitals in Ontario are now looking to Niagara Health to see how they can implement similar leading-edge communication technology.