I’m currently working with a healthcare organization that is attempting to design the “hospital of the future.” It’s no surprise that this organization is adopting IT solutions to optimize patient care, but the hospital is spending just as much time and energy on improving the clinician experience.
Why? For one, the hospital is trying to attract staff, and officials hope a positive working environment will give the organization a competitive advantage. But also, they think that happy, well-rested doctors and nurses will be able to provide the best possible care. In my opinion, they’re on to something.
Here are five ways IT can create better clinician — and, therefore, better patient — experiences.
1. Ergonomic Design
Nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, and anything that can reduce fatigue is an instant win — both for care providers and for their patients. Studies have shown that fatigue can produce negative outcomes for both patients (via mistakes such as incorrect medical orders) and for nurses (as fatigue can contribute to obesity, depression and even motor vehicle accidents).
Vendors such as Humanscale take care to incorporate ergonomic design elements, such as height adjustability, into products like technology cabinets and mobile workstations. It’s the sort of benefit that might seem small during purchasing, but can make all the difference at the end of a nurse’s workweek.
In many hospitals, when nurses want to place a new set of medical orders, they have to walk to a central station, call a doctor, leave a message and then walk back to the station when the doctor returns the call. It’s no wonder that nurses can walk as much as seven miles in a single shift.