Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Patient As a Consumer

Coca-Cola is test marketing a product called the “Free Style”. It’s a box (isn’t everything) that allows the customer to select their Coke product, and even Mix n Match the flavors. If it were just a pop dispenser it wouldn’t be so interesting – what IS interesting is that the box is daily providing information back to head quarters about which products were selected, how specialty blends were selected, etc…in essence a direct information feedback loop of what people want.

Every Hospital has a “Free Style”- it’s required by code and it’s providing multitudes of data that reveal how a patient wants to be cared for on a daily, hourly, even minute by minute basis. The Nurse Call System is alive with information that indicates how a patient’s stay is going. Interestingly, this immediate patient feedback tool is often dismissed as something required by code. It is more about safety then about information. While many nurse call systems are reaching beyond the safety realm and designing abilities for requests – the data is inefficiently and ineffectively managed by the hospital.  HP made a great point in their focus group the Patient must be viewed as a consumer and we must cater to their needs.  The way to do this is to understand their communicated requests.

It’s got to be seen as more than just a safety tool – it’s got to be seen as a tool that lets the patient tell their story.

Let me dream weave with you for a while…… If a patient is consistently asking for a blanket could we automate the heating system to kick on and raise the temperature?  Yes, if we knew they were asking specifically for a blanket.
If a patient is consistently asking for water or ice chips, could a model be created to preemptively provide them with a glass of water before they ask? OR is that indication of something occurring physically that needs to be checked by a doctor? OR for you safety nuts – what do you do a little while after you drink 6 glasses of water that could cause a fall? OR could the information automatically be cross referenced with the EMR data and could IBM’s Watson decide a lab needs to be ordered?

I know that sounds space age but the information is all there – it just takes looking at it, creating a model, and well…the hard part getting everyone to talk together in a common language.

Just to get you thinking – why isn’t the nurse call system called a nurse call system – are they stewardesses or are they clinicians? It needs to be labeled the patient communication platform and IF it is a patient communication platform……why does it only reside within the hospital?

1 comment:

  1. Love this post Kourtney. It is so true that the patient is truely the focus of healthcare. Without patients there is no healthcare.

    There are software programs out there that can do what you propose. They are currently used for analysis, prediction and modeling for NASA and other government entities but the theory is the same. Collect data, anlyze for trends, predict behavior based on the trends, compare/contrast prediction to reality, adjust the trends, rinse, repeat. I believe this is where the EHR movement is headed but we need to plan for this eventuallity now!


Thanks for Posting on Clinical Transformation!

Kourtney Govro