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New tracking system helps hospital’s patient management


Hospital & Health Networks reports that Sharp HealthCare’s Chula Vista  (Calif.) Medical Center trial of a real-time location system  (RTLS) patient-tracking program is improving the hospital’s patient management.

The hospital’s director of acute care, Deanna White, R.N.,  told H&HN that that the RTLS, originally used by Chula Vista for asset tracking, has been expanded to apply to patients. Ms. White has been leading the system’s implementation.

“Each patient is assigned a numbered tag with a barcode, which is scanned and connected to software. Infrared technology and beacons in the hospital pick up the tracker’s signal (pictured right) and immediately update the software.” the news service reported.

“The main benefit of the system is in expediting patient throughput and bed turnover. As soon as a patient is discharged, the tag is removed and placed in a special drop box, which pages housekeeping to clean the room. Previously, housekeeping was notified manually. The automated system has decreased the time it takes to get a patient to a room from admit order to occupy by 191 minutes.”

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An R.N. talks about running L.A.’s oldest hospital

Frank Cracolici, R.N., discuses his new  role as president and chief executive of St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles’s oldest hospital.

It has 366  beds and more than 1,300 employees,  and continues to focus on caring for the residents of downtown Los Angeles.

He told Becker’s Hospital Review that his nursing background taught him:

“One of the first things clinicians learn is how to be non-judgmental. Recognizing the humanness in individuals is an important lesson. In my mind, nursing helped that. The patient is the center of everything we do [at St. Vincent], and when you have a clinical background, you walk the walk and talk the talk. I’ve sat with patients who were critically ill or dying, and it helps me humanize everything that happens within the walls of this hospital. [My background has] helped me understand the importance of nursing and where the focus needs to be, and that’s around the patient experience.”


Nurses urged to get more active in policymaking


Citing the effects of the Affordable Care Act and nurses winning a wider scope of practice in many states,  the author of an article in Minority Nurse says nurses ought to become more active  in healthcare policy as they gain more authority in hospitals.

Janice Phillips, Ph.D., R.N., noted that conducting research among underserved populations on breast-cancer disparities led her to lobbying and public-policy advocacy to reduce these disparities.

Becker’s Hospital Review summarized her suggestions:

  • “Take health-policy courses during their nurse training.
  • Attend in-person and virtual lobby days.
  • “Analyze publications and presentations for policy implications.
  • “Read policy journals.
  • “Share personal policy-related experiences.
  • “Factor policy components into day-to-day clinical work, such as student interviews with legislators.
  • “Identify policy implications in everyday practice.”



5 systems scramble to address nursing shortage


Here’s a look at how five hospital systems are recruiting and retaining nurses  to address the looming shortage in many places of registered nurses. Of course, nurses and other non-physician clinicians are taking on larger roles these days because of the financial incentives and punishments for healthcare institutions to move to  value-based population-health models and simply because nurses are paid less than physicians.

The flood of aging Baby Boomers is the major reason for the worry about a nurse shortage. Indeed, a surge of  retirements among Baby Boomer nurses will be part of the problem.

Among the incentives to get and keep nurses:  Bonuses and tuition reimbursement,  career-development opportunities and partnerships with educational institutions.

Marcia Faller, R.N., Ph.D., chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare, said:  “{T]he harm to the healthcare industry  {of a nursing shortage} goes beyond the numbers. The loss of this intellectual asset may be acutely felt in terms of quality of care and patient satisfaction. To withstand this loss, healthcare providers need help in preparing for the nursing workforce of the future.”











Nurses’ important role in hospital design


Jaynelle Stichler, R.N., told Healthcare Design Magazine that designers of hospitals should consult closely with nurses.

“Nurses have a very unique perspective on patient and family needs; therefore their informed voice at the design table is absolutely critical,” said Ms. Stichler,  founding co-editor of HERD Journal, professor emerita at San Diego State University and research consultant for Sharp Metro Campus.

Becker’s Hospital Review noted:

“Nurses have assumed roles as project directors or agents of the hospital directly interfacing with architects and other design professionals. Increasingly, nurses employed at hospitals are providing input at design meetings, sharing clinical insight and expertise about the needs of patients, families and care providers. The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design is an association that exists to engage and integrate clinical expertise and planning into the design of healthcare environments. More than 505 of their members represent architect and design firms, transition and activation planning companies, and provide organizational leadership strategically responsible for construction and renovation of healthcare spaces.”



Video: Key role of PAs and APNs in population health


Video and text: More diversity, please, in C-Suite


Ruth Brinkley,  R.N., the president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health, talks about why more diversity is needed in healthcare management for both clinical and business reasons.

Ms. Brinkley has become a role model for minorities aspiring to work in hospital management. She delivered an address on the subject at this year’s American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago.

She says, among other things: The short answer is that disparities and diversity in healthcare are more important than ever before. I’m sure you expected me to say that, but let me tell you why. Our country is more diverse than ever in terms of ethnicity, in terms of racial background and religiosity, so we have to understand each other better, especially in the helping and the healing professions like healthcare. We have to understand our customers, who are changing. The demographics also are changing. …”


“What immediately comes to mind is the makeup of our boards of directors, the makeup of our executive teams, our healthcare professionals. Now, I will grant you that sometimes finding people from varied ethnic groups who are health professionals or [are qualified for] boards is not easy. Typically, everybody is looking for the same people. So we have to figure out a way to cast a broader net and to really pay attention to the people who might not necessarily have everything you need, or to growing our own from within the ranks of our own organizations. That’s what leadership succession planning is all about.”

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