10 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU PURCHASE A NURSE CALL SYSTEM:
Trying to find the right call system for acute care, elder care or other healthcare environments can seem like a daunting task. There are meetings, committees, product reviews, vendors, demonstrations and funding to evaluate. The selection process can often be disorganized and overwhelming for staff and decision-makers.
At Comm-Tronics, we believe that if you keep these 10 items in mind, it will help save time, reduce stress and make the decision-making process regarding a nurse call system better for the organization as a whole.
- Evaluate the needs of your patients first—Regardless of acuity level, your nurse call system should enhance a patient’s overall experience through ease of use and the assurance of effective staff communications.
- Involve your staff—The nurses and clinicians, who will be using the system daily will be able to provide expert input into what they need in a new nurse call system.
- Document your needs – Put down in writing the requirements of a new nurse call system in advance of your search. Set a baseline of functions for each system to meet, then move up the list of available options until you find the solution that provides the features and benefits you need.
- Integrate your systems – New technologies make it possible to integrate the right nurse call system into ADT, EMR, patient care boards, electronic whiteboards, telemetry, wireless phones, activity reporting, paging, medical equipment alarms, RTLS, bed exit/fall alert, infant abduction, patient wandering, staff location and many other technologies that can automate diverse processes to make your job easier.
- Configure for Flexibility – Not all patient care areas are the same. Patient units have unique “operating procedures” which need to be considered in a nurse call system’s software. Are you prepared to operate your unit/floor/facility to a manufacture’s pre-defined specifications, or do you need a system that is flexible and can be adapted to the specific needs of each unit/floor/facility? Not all nurse call systems have this capability. Know the difference between customizing the sound of an alarm and customizing the overall call/response process.
- Price – Although important, price should not be the primary factor when deciding on a nurse call system. A great nurse call system will be with you for 10-20 years. It is difficult to calculate into the equation the hidden financial impact of enhanced staff efficiencies, improved workflow and increased patient satisfaction but it is very important to keep these things in mind. Selecting a nurse call system primarily on price could result in higher than anticipated costs of ownership and lost productivity that will negatively affect your organization’s bottom line for many years.
- Advice – Nurses, clinicians, and administrators should have primary input when designing and selecting a nurse call system. Architects, engineers, consultants and other professional specifiers can provide valuable input, but few have ever walked in a caregiver’s shoes.
- Demo – Product demonstrations are of paramount importance. A functional nurse call system demonstration for staff to hear, see, touch, feel, and ask specific questions regarding the way they use it can be a deciding factor in the selection process. Allow everyone who will interact with the new nurse call system a chance to use the demo and provide feedback. After all, these professionals will be the persons using it on a daily basis.
- Dedication – Research the manufacturer’s commitment to the healthcare industry. How long have they manufactured nurse call systems? What percentage of their business is healthcare-centric? Are their systems UL approved? Do their systems address Joint Commission initiatives? Do they offer manufacturer warranties and technical support? How do they select their local resellers? All are important considerations when investing in technology that is integral to your facility. Remember, this equipment will be with you for 10-20 years. Confidence in the manufacturer’s commitment to their systems and local resellers is important.
- Service – Your local sales, service and installing dealer—who are they? Are they certified by the manufacturer? Are they close enough to respond quickly and reliably to routine and critical service requests? Do they provide 24/7/365 on-site service and support? How many local installers and technicians do they employ? How many vehicles? Do they offer preventative maintenance and service agreements beyond the manufacturer’s warranty? How long have they been in business? Will they provide local service references to back-up their promises? In selecting a call system, service after the sale from the manufacturer’s local representative should be of primary importance.
So, there you have it – 10 things to consider before you purchase a new nurse call system. Happy researching! If we can assist you in any way, give us a call. We’re here to make your job easier.
Comm-Tronics, since 1967, is a Maryland-based business serving Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia and Delaware. We focus exclusively on healthcare technologies.
Comm-Tronics provides 24/7/365 service and support for all of our customers. Our local, dedicated sales and service teams offer a variety of solutions designed to meet the challenges of healthcare’s changing business needs. We’re here to make your job easier.
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