Workflow Ability takes into account the product life (base ability) combined with the technology life (things we can’t live without) and balances it against the Optimal Workflow. It is determined by examining specific parameters such as staffing, unit layout, and technical acumen. Optimal workflow is not wholly determined by the technology that is in place, but does take that into account as a limiting or enabling item. Onceit is determined then the limitations of old technology can be balanced and married with the enhancements of the new utilizing a unifying technology.
So, for example, a cell phone allows a person to call while mobile. In its raw basic form – it’s clunky – you have to learn to dial one handed, hold a phone to your ear and drive. (Plus drink your latte, manage the kids, and change the radio station - not that I have ever done that.)
The iPhone is equipped with a unifying technology called Blue Tooth. If a person wants hands-free calling utilizing their iPhone then they need to upgrade their car to a 2010 model with Microsoft SYNC technology. SYNC provides voice command dialing and open voice communications over the cars speakers. (Like a Vocera Badge) However, to get SYNC you have to purchase a brand new 2010 Ford. OR you can utilize a different unifying technology which leverages the abilities of the iPhone in hands-free mode over the car speakers. Until you purchase the new car, you will still have to do the one hand dial, but at least you can set the phone in the cup holder and drive with your both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2.
Now apply this principle into the world of nurse call or other healthcare technology. Upgrading an entire nurse call system can be in excess of $5,000 per room. I will be the first to tell every caregiver – the new system will make your life easier and offers a number of flexibilities. However, it is better to decide workflow prior to purchase, decide if you can utilize existing systems with a unifying technology – then make the upgrade decisions.
While the capabilities of the new system will become a necessity ( I almost didn’t drive the other day because my front end collision warning was not working due to the snow even though I have driven without it for 15 years) leveraging existing platforms is a real possibility.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Blog post – Disruptive Technology and its Influence on Workflow - insights gained from our recent trip to Cerner.
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