How to Develop a Workflow for New Medical Technology

When your healthcare setting is used to working in its old ways, it can be a daunting experience trying to plan out a new addition to the workflow. New technological advances and improvements have brought out new medical equipment that can help save you space, time and money; and, most importantly, improve care practices.

Adding a new medical computer or tablet to your system doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re considering implementing a piece of medical technology, there are ways you can put together a workflow to accommodate it.

The key to whether it is successful, or not, is pre-planning and mapping out the specific role the new device will have in terms of day to day activities. Since the device will be attached to a cart, the flexibility it offers is vast, providing more opportunities to ensure accurate and efficient patient care.

Learn How to Use It

The most important step is to learn how to use the new tablet or computer on the medical cart. You should plan a staff meeting or workshop prior to implementing it. Have all personnel that will be using it attend this meeting. Discuss the way the equipment will impact the day-to-day activities and provide educational instructions on proper usage.

Windows Tablet – These are small and portable. They may have additional functions like scanning barcodes on wristbands or prescriptions. It may come with a stylus pen that could take getting used to. You may even want to use a front or rear-facing camera. Tablets are used on the go and may require practice for those that have never used them before. When mounted to a cart they offer ultimate flexibility and versatility for a medical practice.

All-in-One PC + Medical Cart – These are used as medication carts, part of a nurse’s station or for administration to get information, like health insurance, from the patient. These carts allow the computer and keyboard to attach and move around with ease. If your healthcare setting has never used a medical cart before, this would be one to bring up and introduce as a new addition.

Once staff members are comfortable with the new addition, it is crucial to explain the role it will play in day-to-day activities.

The Role of the Device

The most important question to ask is how the new computer will be used. Implement a strategy of how the new device will impact each activity by each staff member. For example:

  • Check-in: Use device for registering patient, verifying information, alerting nurse/doctor of arrival.
  • Triage: Update specific issue or reason for the visit. Alert doctor to the patient’s presence.
  • Consultation: Doctor can use device for ordering tests or labs, prescribing medication, taking notes of the evaluation of the patient.
  • Follow-Up: Select options for front desk staff to know if new appointment is needed, what patient needs to pay and any other pertinent information.

The modern devices provide the custom setup necessary for all types of medical devices. This allows medical practices to have the devices pre-loaded and ready to go for their specific practice.

Ease It into the Workflow

After educating staff on the new piece of medical equipment it is essential to introduce its purpose and benefit to every department or staffer. It is crucial to make sure each person knows the role of the tablet or computer in their specific position. This will make the transition of not using the machine, to using it, worry and trouble free.

Administration – A medical computer in administrative and financial settings provides accounting systems like patient billing, payroll and materials management. These are typically located on desks in the office. Administration will need to back up data and ensure that no important information is lost during the transition.

Healthcare Professionals – A medical computer, cart or tablet may be introduced to a healthcare professional. Nurses who have never used a tablet before may need to learn how to use one for the first time. Nurses are very busy and you will want to make sure there’s a good plan set up before tweaking their routines. Same goes with physicians. If they are used to writing with pen on paper, a tablet with a stylus pen could be quite a change. They may be older and uneducated in computer technology. Even those who grew up when computers were coming out may have trouble learning how these new systems work.

Summary

Learning how to implement the new computer or tablet for a medical practice can take time, but when a plan is in place, it will minimize the confusion or issues that result. There are far too many medical practices attempting to introduce new technology, such as the tablet or computer cart without letting staffers know its purpose and how it will impact efficiency, patient care and productivity. Making a specific plan for workflow integration will make the entire process seamless and provide a significant ROI for the new technology.

 

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