Alternative Technologies to Nurse Call

Alternative Technologies to Nurse Call

If you’re a healthcare practitioner, you’ll probably have come across the nurse call system in your daily work. 

For those who may not know, nurse call is an electronic system that helps the patient to reach out to a nurse or care provider directly from their hospital bed. These systems enhance the provision of care to patients by enabling nurses and care providers to respond to patients’ needs faster. 

Nurse call has been vital to the smooth provision of patient care in hospitals, aged-care homes, and assisted living facilities. Patients who previously faced long wait times to receive care can now call a nurse or care provider to attention with the simple press of a button. 

But is nurse call antiquated? And what are the technological alternatives to nurse call on the market? In this post, we’ll look at the technology that’s disrupting nurse call and why, and delve deeper into prime examples of these changes.

Shortcomings & Disruption

While nurse call has played a crucial role in enhancing care provision, the system does have some shortfalls. 

Firstly, users must be able to reach the calling device to alert a care provider. This calling system enables this via the use of devices like pillow speakers, wearables, and alert buttons. When a patient is critically ill, they can’t reach these devices to receive timely assistance.

Also, falling incidents from trying to reach nurse call devices have been a significant concern in aged care and assisted living facilities. Given that most calling devices are stationary and fixed to the bed or wall, it can be near impossible for patients to alert their care provider should they need help. 

After decades of slow change, technology is disrupting the nurse call system. These changes have begun to positively impact health care provider organisations and manufacturers as new technologies are integrated in to nurse call. 

Are there any benefits to these changes? There are. From what we’ve seen when interacting with our various clients, some of these benefits include: 

  • Improved patient safety
  • Shorter length of patient stay 
  • Increased confidence in care provision offered by the facility
  • Higher productivity for care providers

Barriers to Change

Nurse call came to the fore in the 1960s and 1970s, when hospitals began to integrate technology into their care provision systems. Nurse call vendors have enjoyed relative stability for the past 50 years, but the situation is now changing rapidly.

While this may be the case, there are still barriers to change, despite the apparent benefits of the alternatives. These include:

Limited Sales Opportunities

For decades, nurse call has enjoyed a monopoly, and the market has been thoroughly penetrated. Sales opportunities are limited to new hospital and aged care facilities construction and renovations, which means that any new devices have an incredibly long sales cycle. 

To make matters worse, hospitals rarely replace their 10-15-year-old nurse call system across the board but on a per-unit basis.

Cost

Nurse call installation is expensive, requiring the mounting of expensive equipment and cables. Installation costs inhibit hospitals from changing vendors quickly as they must see a  return on their investment and show cost-benefit analyses before approving any new changes. 

Most hospitals and care facilities also have one nurse call vendor, and it can be hard to justify the change to a different vendor unless they are renovation a wing of their facility or upgrading a few units. 

Regulatory Barriers

Any new entrants must overcome regulatory barriers. Devices must be certified and licensed before they can be approved for use inpatient care. 

With the rising need for effective and efficient patient care, innovators are now developing new technologies that are not expensive to install and just as useful as nurse call. These technologies are amplifying how nurse call works and even replacing them.

Alternatives

Monitoring and Fall Detection Systems

As a healthcare provider, it is impossible to be everywhere at the same time. 

Nonetheless, your priority is to ensure patients receive the care they need when they need it. Here is where monitoring and fall detection systems come in.

These systems provide caregivers with information on the progress of each patient automatically. They feature sensors that employ the use of AI to detect falls, incidents, lack of movement, and more. 

Some come with a fall mat equipped with a sensor to monitor for fall incidents, while others have a camera that works by using infrared videos. These systems allow caregivers to assess the cause of a patient incident and offer the necessary support immediately upon receiving an alert.

The SOFIHUB ProCare System

Falling is not the only issue that a patient may have while under a caregiver. They could suffer a heart attack, be in pain, in mental distress, and more. So, how do you enhance care provision in these situations?

SOFIHUB ProCare systems are another great alternative to nurse call. This system applies AI and machine learning to monitor the activities of a person under assisted care. Unlike other systems, the patient does not need to press any button or speak to alert the caregiver. The system uses automation to send regular alerts to caregivers about patient progress.

For instance, Pro Care can determine: 

  • Medication times
  • Durations spent outside authorised areas
  • Fall issues
  • Lack of movement

Then, it sends such alerts to the caregiver for immediate action, enhancing healthcare service provision and improving patient-nurse communication.

Wrapping It Up

Technology is disrupting all areas of health care provision and not just nurse call. These innovations are using AI and machine learning to improve care provision and improve patient-nurse connection, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down. 

For more information on SOFIHUB ProCare and how we can help you to install it in your health care facility, do please contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you. 

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