Mission Health is piloting a new observation solution to help reduce patient falls. Through a testing partnership with Cerner, Mission has added Cerner Patient Observer to six neurosciences unit patient beds.
During the 3-month study, the average falls rate – as measured per 1,000 patient days of care – dropped from four per month to zero.
“Preventing a fall is critically important; however, this is also about using technology in a patient-centered approach to better communicate with patients,” said Marc Westle, DO, FACP, senior vice president of innovation. “The technology has the potential to improve overall communications between the patient and the right care team member, at the right time.”
Team efforts to optimize
The pilot project, led by the Mission Center for Innovation, began with an introduction of the technology in 2015. Through a rigorous process of defining a falls risk use case, Mission Center for Innovation collaborated with Mission Hospital’s Neurosciences unit.
The Neurosciences clinical team developed a fall risk algorithm to identify the “highest risk” patients admitted to the unit. Patients meeting specific criteria and thereby identified as candidates were informed of the new technology and monitored during their stay.
Frequent project meetings were held to discuss the pilot results and identify opportunities for improvement.
“Even with the early versions of the software we had very few problems, and we were able to create shortcuts for our users and reduce the number of clicks needed for basic functionality,” said Randy Burkert, manager of Mission Center for Innovation.
The team effort and overall collaboration between Mission Health and Cerner resulted in not only improving the technology, but building an efficient clinical workflow to enhance overall patient care.
Avoiding sitter costs
Traditional approaches to monitoring patients with a falls risk often include the use of a sitter stationed in the room with each patient.
The challenges with one-to-one sitters are two fold. First, sitter resources are limited and may not be available as patient needs are presented. Second, sitter costs add up quickly and can account for a significant portion of a unit’s budget.
With the help of Cerner Patient Observer, Mission Health can now monitor six in-room patients with a single remote monitoring technician from a single remote monitoring station.
“The camera systems are available, rapidly deployed and easily set-up in the patient room,” said Burkert.
Additionally, the system allows for Mission Health to avoid excessive sitter costs while increasing patient safety. The example below shows both documented and projected cost avoidance.
With six cameras and a 94-day pilot, Mission Health was able to monitor 8,615 patient hours. This is equivalent to $103,380 in one-to-one sitter costs that were avoided by successful use of the patient observer solution. With plans to expand to 72 cameras across the enterprise, this would equate to 401,189 patient monitoring hours per year, equivalent to $4.8 million in avoided sitter costs.