Are Your Sickest Patients Being Visited Regularly?

By Chris Hermann

Typically, nurses try to visit each of their patients at least once an hour. This is important to ensure patients are getting the care they need, to reduce fall risks and pressure ulcers, etc. It’s logical to assume that clinicians would visit the sicker patients more frequently than the less ill patients, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

We consolidated data from all of our hospital customers over time and found that, on average, providers visit normal patients 3.3 times more often than those in isolation. And they visit these typical patients 4.2 times more often than patients suffering from C. diff!

Ironically, the burden of donning and doffing PPE, and perhaps fear of catching something contagious, encourage clinicians to behave in an opposite manner than what’s ideal.

What can hospitals do with this news?

  • First, they can use technology to identify problem areas – is this happening in their organization? Where and when? Are there patterns?
  • Second, they may be able to address the issue by reducing the need for clinicians to use PPE. Some hospitals are creating a “hi zone” where clinicians can step a few feet into an isolation room without using PPE as long as they don’t touch anything. Other hospitals no longer put patients with routine colonized MRSA in isolation.
  • Third, technology can send a real-time alert to managers to notify them when a patient in isolation hasn’t been visited within a certain period of time.

Healthcare organizations need to recognize that the traditional and well-intentioned habit of overusing PPE can have negative consequences. There should be a balance between protecting the provider and other patients from being infected with ensuring the sickest patients get the care they need.

It’s worth noting that this data was not previously known, because there was no easy way to measure how often providers were visiting patients of different types. Our technology allows us to gather and analyze this data, leading to unprecedented insights.

If you’d like to learn more about how our electronic hand hygiene reminder system decreases HAIs by over 60%, download our free white paper now. Or contact us so we can discuss your hospital’s specific needs.

This is part of a series about Making the Invisible Visible: Clinical Intervention Data.

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