In the fast-paced setting that is a hospital ward, every second counts, and nurse unit managers play a central role in optimising every action of frontline nursing staff, to make the most of limited human and other resources. On a daily basis, they aim to balance the demands of patients and staff management, juggling countless responsibilities and striving to provide high-quality care in an environment fraught with challenges.
These challenges range from inefficient communication channels and disjointed information systems to staffing shortages and complex workflows.
Nurse unit managers also act as a link between patients and top hospital management – they are the middleman (or statistically often women) fighting to ensure that patients receive the best possible care, while simultaneously answering to senior management and supporting teams.
No doubt, this relentless struggle to balance quality care, employee satisfaction, and organisational objectives can be overwhelming, and without the right support and tools in place, can lead to compromised efficiency and poorer patient outcomes.
As technology evolves, however, solutions are emerging that can help nurse unit managers, and other administrators cut down on the unnecessary workload associated with manually identifying opportunities to optimise.
In hospitals or healthcare settings where collaboration, communication and coordination are paramount, the adoption of integration and automation platforms is reducing some of the burdens. They ingest data from an array of sources, interpret it and give it context, then deliver insights or automated actions and responses almost instantly, as a result.
This cutting-edge technology seamlessly connects disparate systems, processes, and departments, transforming healthcare organisations into intelligent and adaptive networks. It has introduced the benefit of streamlined efficiency, empowering nurse unit managers to more easily rise above the challenges and deliver exceptional patient care, while optimising staff resources.
Think of instant access to critical patient information, including medical histories, test results, and treatment plants, at their fingertips.
Think of no longer being burdened by the laborious task of navigating through multiple systems or tracking down misplaced files.
And think of making informed decisions swiftly, eliminating delays and improving patient and staff safety.
Hospital integration and automation solutions offer the potential to change the way nurse unit managers operate in the complex landscape of healthcare, and they’re just getting started.
Understanding The Reach of Technology Integration
The connection of devices, systems, people and patients through an integration platform is at the heart of smart hospitals that are becoming smarter.
These platforms seamlessly join diverse components such as electronic health records, patient scheduling software, nurse call systems, security, fire, physical assets and more, delivering comprehensive data.
As an example, Olinqua’s agnostic integration platform brings together devices and systems from many vendors, collating data from all of them, and making it useful through applications such as asset tracking, environment monitoring, secure messaging, incident management and task management.
For a nurse unit manager, working across multiple wards and units, managing nursing teams and relying on operational and administration staff, each of these applications, among others, has a pivotal role to play in the optimisation of performance, efficiency and patient outcomes.
Being able to locate a wheelchair instantly, no matter where it has been left, be notified if fridge temperatures are not optimal for blood stores, streamline workflows and tasks, and respond faster to incidents, deliver benefits to everyone and maximise efficiency across departments. These solutions are hospital-wide, technology-wide and can help optimise almost all hospital functions.
The importance of efficiency in healthcare cannot be understated, and the demand for it continues to rise as our population ages, chronic diseases become more prevalent, and expanded coverage puts immense pressure on healthcare organisations – and in particular, nurse unit managers.
Implementing more disparate systems, and having more interfaces, vendors and bugs to deal with, is simply no longer the answer, when solutions already exist that reach from one end of the hospital to the other.
Delivering Benefits Hospital-Wide
A study conducted in 2021 identified the top three highly reported challenges by the majority of nurse unit managers focused on staff safety and risk of infection; stress, fear and anxiety; and workload.
But the reality is these challenges are nothing new. These same issues that nurse unit managers currently face, have been reported in literature for over 50 years, with the administrative load increasing even further over the last two decades, staff attacks on the rise, and workload often at extreme levels.
Unfortunately, it took a worldwide pandemic for frontline workers, including nurse unit managers, to suddenly be in the spotlight – along with the challenges they face on a regular basis.
By implementing integration, and using that data to, for example, power real-time location services, or automate manual tasks and streamline communication, staff can feel safer and more protected, heavy workloads can be lightened, and as a result, stress and anxiety will also decrease.
Technology integration and automation in hospitals deliver a number of key benefits to frontline managers.
- Automating Tasks and Streamlining Communication
Integration software reduces the administrative burdens placed on nurse unit managers, allowing them to focus on leadership and patient care. By automating routine tasks such as data entry, appointment scheduling, and documentation, and enabling task tracking for staff, they can save valuable time and allocate efforts towards more critical responsibilities.
In addition, the software enhances communication channels by providing real-time access to accurate patient data, enabling seamless collaboration among interdisciplinary teams.
Secure messaging, alerts, and notifications keep everyone informed, improving communication and facilitating efficient decision-making.
- Providing Real-Time Data and Insights
Integration software empowers nurse unit managers with real-time access to critical patient information, in addition to personnel, patient and asset location. By consolidating data from different sources, such as EMRs, diagnostic systems, and medication administration records, integration software offers a comprehensive view of patient health, test results, and treatment plans.
This real-time data enables nurse unit managers to make informed decisions promptly, enhancing patient safety, reducing errors, and optimising treatment outcomes.
- Improving Patient Outcomes and Staff Satisfaction
The benefits of integration software extend beyond operational efficiency. By streamlining workflows, enhancing communication, and providing accurate and up-to-date patient data, nurse unit managers can deliver improved patient outcomes.
The software facilitates personalised and patient-centred care, ensuring that treatments align with individual needs and preferences.
These benefits are only some of the many, with the aim to empower all hospital workers to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency.
Shifting Mindset for Successful Implementation of Integration Software
To ensure the successful implementation of integration software, developing a clear plan, setting realistic goals, addressing staff concerns and providing relevant training are all undoubtedly crucial. As is the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the software and use, to ensure continued success.
But beyond these components is one crucial factor: shifting perspective and acceptance when it comes to emerging digital technologies.
Currently, the presence of digital technologies can be seen by some as a diversion from, or an unwanted interference, in the personal care and connections that nurses establish with patients and their families. This perceived conflict with traditional nursing values, like providing compassionate care, might be why some nurse unit managers are hesitant to embrace digital methods in healthcare.
In contrast to these ideas, the result of drawing on data, through integration and automation, to streamline some tasks and even remove others from humans, allows more time for patient interaction, human monitoring and focused care.
Nursing has a history of being structurally subordinate to other healthcare fields within hospitals, and the profession is still solidifying its position and influence within health systems. Thanks to the global pandemic, this mindset is starting to shift, and coming with that, is a move towards greater consideration of tools and equipment that can reduce the pressure on nurses, and better empower them in their jobs.
To find out more about our healthcare integration platform and to see how you can maximise efficiency in your department, get in touch with us today!