Rethinking Patient Communication

In a recent article by Forbes, ‘Why it’s Time to Rethink Your Hospital’s Technology’, author Dick Escue writes that hospital CIO’s will need to update hospital technology as hospitals begin to operate as consumer-products companies. In this analogy, the patient is the consumer, and the product is their overall experience.

One staple of hospital technology is the call button. Traditionally, hospitals supply their patients with wall-mounted call buttons. Even with the innovations surrounding most industries, this device hasn’t been majorly improved in the last fifty years.

Several problems arise from having a wall-mounted call bell. Accessibility may become an issue, particularly if the patient is incapacitated. Secondly, patients may avoid pressing the call bell if they fear that their need isn’t urgent enough. These issues may result in anything from patients feeling uncomfortable, to patients falling and severely injuring themselves to get help.

In a 2010 study, 49% of hospital staff members “perceived that patient-initiated calls mattered to patient safety”. This high percentage implies that keeping nurse call systems up-to-date is vital for the safety of patients. Data from calls also allowed hospitals to improve aspects of their care before issues arose during the day. For example, the hospitals added heavier blankets to patients’ beds, “, decreasing dramatically call light requests for extra blankets”. This example shows the importance of nurse call light improvements so that patients can make calls that can be used by the hospital to improve day-to-day functionality.

RistCall is leading efforts in developing next generation wearable devices for improving patient safety and communication. It provides an and intelligent and user-intuitive way for patients to place calls and categorize their needs, providing nurses with information that lets them prioritize calls and improve their workflow. By doing so, RistCall helps to overcome communication barriers that could otherwise leave a patient unable to voice their issues. RistCall is building a single solution that can track patient calls, wandering, and a suite of other applications to ensure that patient safety and satisfaction are prioritized.

RistCall has raised interest among several hospitals who see it as a one stop solution for patient safety and care coordination. In the work of CIO’s to keep hospital technology modern, these simple devices ease patient anxiety and can spectacularly improve a patient's experience.


Tzeng, Huey-Ming. ‘Perspectives of staff nurses of the reasons for and the nature of patient-initiated call lights: an exploratory survey study in four USA hospitals’. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010; 10: 52

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