Clinical staff are the beating heart of every behavioral health organization. But the cards are stacked against them.
“Staff have famously always been working hard to find ways to improve care, to make sure things are always getting better,” Professor Dean Fathers, ex-chair of the NHS Behavioral Health Provider and a Nottingham University Business School, said in a recent webinar.
Technology can and does maximize staff’s efforts to improve. Even one tool — the first patient monitoring and digital rounding system designed for behavioral health inpatient units — can address many of the challenges faced by staff every day.
The top 3 benefits of the right rounding technology
Prof. Fathers’ career includes stops in the automotive, aerospace, defense and life sciences industries. Each looks for technology to reliably improve productivity and safety.
In the case of behavioral health, moral and legal obligations to ensure patient safety can, unfortunately and ironically, reduce staff productivity and the reliability of their care. An incredible amount of staff time is spent on rounding, which is done at such regular intervals that the patient experience is impacted and staff are prevented from carrying out other equally or more important activities.
The question becomes how to realign safety and productivity so they are not in competition. The answer, Fathers said, is to look for a technology that can drive safety and productivity.
Oxehealth’s remote patient monitoring and digital rounding system delivers objective clinical insights to staff. The tool, called Oxevision, uses secure digital technology to gather data without putting demands on the staff or the patient. At night, staff can ensure patients are safe without entering their rooms and disturbing their sleep. Round the clock, staff can intervene proactively in response to patient activity alerts that tell them a patient might need their help.
This takes a huge load off of staff, addressing a fundamental issue that worsens staff’s satisfaction with their job. There are numerous benefits, but the biggest are:
- Higher reliability
- Improved productivity
- Increased safety
“Because staff are more satisfied, sickness levels decrease and their workplace attendance levels increase. That means you’re getting better consistency in the relationship between members of the staff and the patients,” Fathers’ said. “Therefore, the levels of trust and assurance are built up. As a result of that, you get more into higher reliability of care and environments where the end outcomes improve.”
This, in turn, drives operational savings at behavioral health organizations.
Staff using Oxevision can do one previously highly demanding part of their job more efficiently and in a way that’s reliable. Further, owing to new ways of working, they can, for the first time, use objective clinical data to inform proactive decision making.
Oxevision is based on more than a decade’s worth of research that affirms its safety, efficacy and reliability. The reality of its benefit has played out with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).
The technology supports about 50% of the NHS’ behavioral health providers, covering just shy of 20% of all beds. So far, Oxevision has supported over 35 million patient hours.
Shifting the paradigm
Patient observation is a foundational function in behavioral health. Despite its importance, the way clinical staff conduct observations hasn’t changed in decades.
“For me, coming at this as a nurse of quite long standing, there’s been no real innovation,” Andy Mattin, a long-time nurse leader in the NHS and nurse advisor to Oxehealth, said on the webinar.
“[Remote patient monitoring] gave us a much more robust recording of nursing observations and the rounding mental health technicians do. We weren’t reliant on a piece of paper that invariably could be lost, could be falsified, or perhaps not completed. And we had access to objective clinical data during our observation rounds, which we could collect at night without disturbing patients’ sleep.”
Oxevision’s objective insights create highly insightful clinical data that can improve care, administrative functions, compliance processes and auditability. This turns rounding – a once-burdensome activity – into a pathway to success.
The data can also be used to aid payer relations, lessen litigation costs and impress regulatory regimes.
“Staff have always been working hard to find ways to improve care, to make sure that things are improving continuously,” Fathers said. “I think one of the things that was really good about the way that Oxehealth created the technology is they did it very much in partnership with NHS and with the units, so that they were able to bring those staff members along appropriately and improve the technologies so that they were truly valuable and effective for everybody. … That’s a great example of why this technology helps patients to recover better and enables them to actually rest.”
This article is sponsored by Oxehealth. To learn more about how Oxevision can help your patients and staff, visit Oxehealth.com.