McLaren Northern Michigan (Petoskey, Michigan) has been selected as the winner of ECRI’s 16th Health Technology Excellence Award for its successful integration of patient care technologies to be deployed in a newly constructed addition to the hospital. ECRI’s annual Award recognizes outstanding initiatives undertaken by ECRI member healthcare institutions to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology.
“You could hear a pin drop.” Odds are you know that feeling: sitting in a meeting where the tension is high and the outcome is not at all certain.
That’s how Rich Reamer described the atmosphere when McLaren brought together – in one room, at one time – the sales and technical teams from the vendors who would help equip a newly constructed addition to the facility. As the regional manager of clinical engineering at McLaren, Reamer was intimately involved in the organization’s efforts to build an integrated patient care technology environment within the planned addition to McLaren Northern Michigan hospital.
When designing the addition, the organization knew it wanted more than just new physical spaces; it wanted to build the safest and most advanced integrated patient experience. That meant putting considerable thought into which technologies would be used in those spaces, how those technologies would interact with one another, and what implementation measures would be required to ensure that the technologies functioned well together.
The Challenge: Achieving Integration
McLaren’s approach to achieving its goals involved bringing together the suppliers of the technologies that would be used in the space, and then challenging them to work together to build an integrated solution that streamlined the delivery of information to the care team.
One of the most consequential parts of the project was the aforementioned meeting. The participants represented companies that provide high-quality solutions within specific areas of expertise, namely nurse call, patient monitoring, staff communications, electronic medical record (EMR), real-time locating system (RTLS), patient safety, virtual nursing, patient education, Internet Protocol television (IPTV), and patient interaction and entertainment.
During that meeting, McLaren nursing leadership and clinical engineering management presented the following challenge: What would it look like if all of you worked together to build the best integrated solution? What additional benefits might be realized if we, collectively, work to integrate each of your products so that information is delivered to our care teams through a single interface?
Reamer recounts that, at first, the participants were protective of their products, and didn’t necessarily want to mix their products in with the others. “But once everybody opened up their mind to what we were doing, the walls started coming down.” It didn’t take long for the initial discomfort to give way to excitement and energy. Ultimately, vendors saw potential in being able to tout their successful integration with other technologies.
For McLaren, success required selecting product solutions that use an open architecture and identifying vendor partners who were willing to collaborate.
The Result: Tools for Improving Patient Care and the Patient Experience
One of McLaren’s key requirements for its technology-integration initiative was to optimize the flow of information to and from clinicians – providing them with data they need to care for patients, but doing so in a way that is not overwhelming. The organization’s extensive planning yielded a system that integrates the following technologies and data sources:
A second key requirement was to provide patients with easy access to the resources they need to understand their care and to be comfortable during their stay. The following components are instrumental in that regard:
McLaren notes that the integrated system offers nine total systems working together – either in total integration or in a supporting capacity – to improve safety and quality outcomes for the hospital’s patients.
ECRI congratulates the McLaren team for its successful effort to get technology vendors to work together to implement a solution that optimizes the flow of information to and from clinicians, and that provides patients with easy access to the resources they need to understand their care and to be comfortable during their stay.
To Learn More . . .
To read more about this, and other award-winning projects, visit www.ecri.org/health-devices- award-winners. If you have a project that you’d like considered for the 2023 Award, visit https://www.ecri.org/health-technology-excellence-award, and tell ECRI about it. The Award competition is a great way to gain recognition for the work you do to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology. (Applicants must subscribe to one of ECRI’s programs or services.) You can also contact ECRI by telephone at 610-825-6000, ext. 5891, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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