Advancing patient call light systems to achieve better outcomes

Period of Performance: 09/24/2012 - 06/30/2013


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Patient Provider Communications, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Current nurse call systems lack patient-centric interfaces (i.e. pillow speakers) and the ability to relay specific requests to the most appropriat providers, which negatively impacts operational efficiency. Further, existing systems neither provide a means for limited English proficiency (LEP) patients to make call requests in their native language nor the ability to communicate basic needs with their providers without the aid of an interpreter. These deficiencies lead to inefficient nursing workflow, remain an ongoing source of medical error, and patient safety failures. It has been estimated that inefficient hospitl communication costs U.S. hospitals more than $12 billion annually, or $4 million for each 500-bed hospital.1 Patient Provider Communications, Inc. (PPC) is a start-up healthcare technology company developing EloquenceTM, a comprehensive, evidence- based, patient-centric nurse call solution. The proprietary technology includes an enhanced bedside device (i.e., pillow speaker) for patients to deliver up to 30 specific messages to nursing personnel with automated routing to the most appropriate provider based upon availability and skill level required to fulfil the request. The Phase I STTR determined the precise user requirements and methodology that would ensure successful adoption by both patients and nurses and delivered an alpha prototype consisting of an interactive digital touch screen offering a comprehensive and strategically organized list of patient nurse call requests paired with nurse paging devices and an interactive whiteboard for at-a glance status of nurse call activity for each nursing unit. After rigorous user testing, both patient and nurse groups rated the prototype as more useful, effective and more appropriate compared to existing solutions. The long-term goal of this STTR is commercialization of a nurse call solution that will decrease patient safety failures, give LEP patients equitable access to nurse call systems, improve operational efficiency and decrease overall hospital costs. The Phase II hypothesis is that Eloquencewill meet requirements for LEP patients to effectively use nurse call systems, reduce nurse call fulfillment time by 20%, offload 30% of call requests from nurses to nurse assistants, and will be rated as more efficient, effective and safer than the current nurse call system by patient and nurses. PPC will test the hypothesis with the following aims: 1) Develop a patient-centric bilingual version of Eloquence for LEP patients;2) Prototype a commercially equivalent prototype of Eloquence and verify technical specifications of the system;3) Simulate workflow improvement and assess user satisfaction with Eloquence using data collected on a single patient care unit. PPC will enter the health care IT market specializing in nurse call systems, a $16 billion annual market, offering Eloquence as a vendor agnostic complementary solution to current technology. PPC will position their proprietary enhanced pillow speaker as the most "intelligent and efficient" nurse call solution streamlining nursing workflow, improving healthcare delivery, and the only patient- centric pillow speaker available that gives equitable access to LEP patients. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: In this STTR, Patient Provider Communications, Inc. plans to develop and commercialize EloquenceTM, an advanced patient call light solution that seeks to create efficiencies with nurse call usage, improve nursing staff responsiveness and fulfillment of patient requests, provide LEP patients equitable access to nurse call systems and eventually reduce inpatient falls and other patient safety failures in inpatient care settings. Nurse call manufacturers have focused their innovation over the past decade on secondary nurse call solutions enhancing the care provider interface attempting to improve the triage process while ignoring the potential to automatically triage patient requests directly from the patient interface (i.e., pillow speaker). Consequently, pillow speakers, in their current form, still cannot route th multitude of various patient requests to the best initial recipient without a triage process. Furthermore, patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) cannot effectively use the nurse call system because they cannot communicate with their providers without an interpreter, creating a significant disadvantage to healthcare access and education for LEP patients. All of these failures sustain a health care environment with unnecessary risk factors that contribute to inefficiencies in nursing care processes, poor quality of care and patient safety failures.