How IPTV can improve hospital service
Michael Chorpash, Vice President at VITEC, explains the benefits of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) for hospital patients, their families and staff
Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is rapidly emerging as a critical element in the digital transformation initiatives of hospitals looking for opportunities to reduce costs, elevate efficiency and harness intelligent automation to improve the experiences of patients, visitors and staff alike.
According to analysts at Frost & Sullivan, the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 across the world has overburdened hospitals with a huge influx of patients. Traditional hospitals that rely on manual and analog methods have been unable to handle the huge patient load with limited resources. As hospitals embark on initiatives to improve outcomes, administrators are looking for ways to divert non-clinical resources to activities that contribute to the health and wellbeing of patients under their care.
It is in this context that current video systems are being reevaluated to determine how they support a variety of applications in hospitals. In addition to offering in-room entertainment to patients, video today is being used to:
• Keep hospital staff informed of important developments in their facilities;
• Train and educate doctors and nurses; and
• Communicate important messages -- through digital signage -- to visitors and personnel in common waiting areas.
When it comes to video services however, the current situation in hospitals is, for the most part, highly fragmented and very complex. Separate solutions -- and indeed entire infrastructures -- have been created to support different video applications. This leaves hospital leadership with the task of managing an array of overlapping video delivery technologies to address the needs of the diverse constituencies they serve.
It is not uncommon to find hospitals using a mix of coaxial-based cable TV, closed-circuit video communications and proprietary digital signage networks. Each of these highly siloed applications often require dedicated infrastructures and staff. This leads to major capital and operational expenditures.
As hospitals explore their technology modernization options, there is growing recognition that IPTV can be an ideal solution for addressing the full array of hospital video needs.
IPTV Addresses the Complexity and Cost of Legacy Video in Hospitals
IPTV consolidates multiple applications onto a single data network which can be centrally managed and controlled in an automated fashion. Hospitals can tailor the delivery of specific content in a secure and efficient manner based on who individuals -- or groups -- are, by allowing IT departments to leverage role-based access control and advanced encryption technologies on their enterprise networks.
This solution makes it easier for hospitals to provide patients, visitors and staff with managed access to different categories of content -- whether it is video on demand, live broadcasts, or proprietary hospital programming. In so doing, it allows hospital leaders to deliver more value with fewer resources.
IPTV also creates opportunities to streamline operations and improve service to administrative and clinical functions. Many hospitals, in addition to operating central facilities, also run smaller clinics throughout the communities they serve. The open, intelligent nature of IPTV networks makes it possible for IT staff to remotely manage and deliver consistent video-based services to these clinics. This elevates the patient experience and improves employee productivity.
Security a Major IPTV Benefit for Hospitals
Hospitals deal with the most sensitive categories of personal information. Patient data is governed by an increasingly complex array of federal, state and local rules designed to protect consumers as the volume of data generated -- and consumed -- by hospitals rises exponentially.
It is for this reason that the most effective IPTV solutions utilize security measures based on technology developed for military and intelligence agencies to deliver Department of Defense-grade encryption technology. This ensures that all video services delivered over a hospital’s enterprise network are protected to ensure the privacy of patients and security of content is continuously maintained.
In short, effectively deployed IPTV strategies can play an important role in helping hospitals modernize their technology infrastructures to enable truly patient-centric operations.
COVID-19 "causing mass trauma among world’s nurses"
Healthcare providers are facing ongoing nursing shortages, and hospitals are reporting high rates of staff turnover and burnout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June a report found that levels of burnout among staff in England had reached "emergency" levels.
Registered nurses Molly Rindt and Erika Haywood are nurse mentors on US recruitment platform Incredible Health. In this joint Q&A they tell Healthcare Global about their own experiences of burnout and what can be done to tackle it.
What does it mean to be suffering from burnout?
Some of the most common reasons for nurse burnout include long work hours, sleep deprivation, a high-stress work environment, lack of support, and emotional strain from patient care.
While every profession has its stressors, the nursing industry has some of the highest burnout rates. The massive influence on patients’ lives, the long hours, and many other factors put nurses at risk of severe burnout. And with the rise of COVID-19, many healthcare professionals feel the strain more than ever.
Burnout in nurses affects everyone — individual nurses suffer, patients are impacted, and employers struggle with enormous turnover. This is why it’s crucial for healthcare systems and management to watch for signs of nurse burnout and take steps to provide a healthier workplace. Employers should be careful to watch for burnout symptoms in their healthcare staff — and not ignore them.
Symptoms include constant tiredness, constant anxiety related to work, emotional detachment and unexplained sickness.
How widespread is this problem?
Unfortunately, burnout affects approximately 38% of nurses per year and even the WHO recently labelled burnout as an official medical diagnosis. To put this statistic into perspective, nearly 4 out of 10 nurses will drive to work dreading their shift. Burnout is a reason nurses leave their positions.
Other top reasons for leaving included a stressful work environment, lack of good management or leadership, inadequate staffing, and finding better pay or benefits elsewhere.
Even before the pandemic, demanding workloads and aspects of the work environment such as poor staffing ratios, lack of communication between physicians and nurses, and lack of organisational leadership were known to be associated with burnout in nurses.
Have either of you experienced burnout?
Rindt: I have experienced burnout as an RN. I was constantly fatigued, never felt like I was off work, and would frequently dream I was still at work taking care of patients. In my particular situation, I needed to take a step back and restructure my work schedule to allow for more time off. After doing this, I was able to reduce burnout by deciding to work two shifts back-to-back and then have 2-3 days off.
Haywood: I definitely experienced constant anxiety related to work - so much so it would impact the days I wasn’t at work. At one point, I was even on medication to help combat the anxiety and stress I was facing on the job.
I had heart palpitations, chest pain, and wouldn’t be able to sleep before working the next day, which slowly started to impact other aspects of my life. I knew I couldn’t continue to live this way, it wasn’t sustainable. Because of this, I began to focus on my needs and prioritising self-care, especially during the beginning of the pandemic. Putting my needs first and not feeling guilty were necessary for me to overcome burnout.
What impact is COVID-19 having on nurses' wellbeing?
Some nurses have suffered devastating health consequences. Many nurses have dealt with excessive on-the-job stress, fears of becoming infected, and grief over seeing patients succumb to COVID-19 while isolated from their families.
New evidence gathered by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) suggests COVID-19 is causing mass trauma among the world’s nurses. The number of confirmed nurse deaths now exceeds 2,200, and with high levels of infections in the nursing workforce continuing, overstretched staff are experiencing increasing psychological distress in the face of ever-increasing workloads, continued abuse and protests by anti-vaccinators.
However, other small silver linings that came from the pandemic include increased professional autonomy, leadership opportunities and career growth potential.
How much of the cause of burnout is due to the hospitals or healthcare providers, and what can they do to address it?
Nurse fatigue poses serious problems for healthcare organisations, and a recent survey from Kronos found 63% of nurses say their job has caused burnout. The survey also found that more than 4 out of 5 nurses think hospitals today are losing good staff because other employers offer a better work/life balance.
Nurse burnout not only contributes to staff turnover, but it can impact the facility’s quality of care, patient satisfaction, and even medical outcomes.
Strategies to address burnout include training improving nurse-to-patient ratios, include nurses in policy discussions, and prioritise fostering a healthy work culture in hospitals.
What does your role mentoring nurses on the Incredible Health platform involve?
Rindt: My role can vary based on the needs of the nurses. The nurses love knowing they have someone in their corner who can give interview preparation advice or provide suggestions on how to improve their resume. Knowing that there is someone who is well-versed in the job process and can help set expectations on what to anticipate, really helps to remove a layer of uncertainty.
Haywood: When screening nurses, it is customised to what their individual RN or nurse practitioner needs, and at a time that is most convenient for them. Nurses are busy and often aren’t thought of first. Being able to provide support from the very beginning of their career advancement journey helps tremendously. We also provide resources such as resume templates and tips that can help nurses be successful and feel supported.