How to Design Better Care with RTLS Nurse Call Automation

By Jeanne Kraimer, Marketing Manager, Midmark RTLS
7/2/2019

Real-time locating system (RTLS) technology made its debut in hospitals more than two decades ago. And while outpatient clinical settings like primary care, oncology and multispecialty clinics have begun to adopt the technology, there is still tremendous untapped potential for RTLS in acute care.

One of the greatest impacts of RTLS in acute care comes from one of its simplest applications: Nurse Call Automation. This solution allows nursing staff to clear patient calls automatically by just entering the room—pressing the cancellation button is no longer necessary. Let’s take a closer look to see how this technology is a game changer for clinical workflow and patient care.

The foundation for effective hospital communications

Without reliable, clear communication, it is difficult for a hospital to provide excellent patient care. And the nurse call system is the foundation of hospital communication. When a patient needs assistance, they press a button to call their nurse, illuminating a dome light in the hallway and triggering messages to the nurse’s station and often the nurse’s mobile phone.   

To answer the call and document her response time, the nurse presses the cancellation button in the patient room, which is often located near the head of the hospital bed. Reaching the button is sometimes like navigating an obstacle course—staff may have to reach over the patient and around medical equipment, bedside trays, flower arrangements and more just to clear the call. And if a patient is in distress, a nurse’s first focus should be on attending to his or her needs, not on pressing a button.

In other words, traditional nurse call cancellation can be a hassle. That’s where RTLS automation comes in.

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How RTLS Nurse Call Automation works

With RTLS, clearing a patient call is automated. When the nurse wears an RTLS badge, the call is cleared immediately when he or she enters the room, based on their presence. This is made possible by integrating RTLS with the nurse call system.

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How does RTLS Nurse Call Automation lighten nurse workload?

Nurse burnout is a prevalent and important topic of discussion in healthcare today—nursing teams are short-staffed and under a great deal of pressure to care for a growing patient population. In fact, 44 percent of nurses say they worry that patient care will suffer because they are so fatigued.

Nurses are necessary, and they are exhaustible. We should actively seek ways to lighten their workload, rather than giving them more things to remember that distract them from patient care.

RTLS Nurse Call Automation improves workflow by allowing clinical staff to prioritize patients, not call cancellation or manual data entry. By automatically clearing calls with RTLS, staff can go straight to patient care, assured that their call response time has been automatically recorded.

How does RTLS Nurse Call Automation impact patient care?

When nurses are enabled to focus on the patient first, they feel a greater sense of satisfaction in their work. Furthermore, the patient experiences increased satisfaction as well, because their care receives full attention.

RTLS Nurse Call Automation also records response times that are accurate and unbiased. This data can be used for patient satisfaction and safety initiatives.

So, while it may seem like the function provided by RTLS Nurse Call Automation is basic, it has a significant impact on improving the experience between the patient and caregiver.  

To learn more about the transformative power of RTLS in acute care, download our Acute Workflow Solutions brochure