The Critical Alert Blog

Breathing New Life

by Kourtney Govro

On weekends, I refinish discarded pieces of furniture.   It’s therapeutic to transform something.  I look at it and think about how this was once a valued, useful piece in someone’s home, but has become junk.   A few months ago, I was given a cabinet that a friend was going to donate.  It was a heavy solid wood piece, well-constructed with dove tail drawers.  It was probably very expensive when her grandmother purchased it.   It clearly served the family well for years.  Unfortunately, it had a dreaded honey oak finish with colonial style pulls, plus some general damage from years of use.  It wasn’t a bad piece, it was just…old and worn out.

I walk into hospitals every day with “honey oak-colored” nurse call.  Years ago, they went shopping and looked at all of the options, evaluated how they would use it, and then selected the most practical, stylish piece they could afford.  For several years, it has served a valiant purpose, but now, it has lost its luster and does not fit their current needs or vision.

Last week, we reviewed a five-year-old nurse call system at a hospital.  Their system was not old, the hardware wasn’t bad at all, but it wasn’t meeting their needs.  To make things worse, their current vendor told them that they had to forklift upgrade their software to the latest platform.   When we inquired why, the IT Director said, “We need it to be a a platform we feel comfortable using with our data system that offers high availability and redundancy – we need an analytics and reporting tool that really helps us – and we want to take care of the system ourselves.  We paid for this system five years ago and were told it would last years…the hardware works, but the software has been end of lifed and it’s only five years old.”

Nurse call hardware shouldn’t be so expensive and your software should be really robust and have basic IT requirements like redundancy.

My team and I then explained that we could utilize that not so old, not so useless hardware and give it a modern user interface with capabilities like a smart phone application and mobile workflow station.  Modern and real-time analytics tools, not just reports; modern native interfaces with technologies;  a   cloud-based or on-prem software platform as well as full redundancy and high availability all for a reasonable price.   Oh, and by the way, if your hardware does need to be replaced in the future….we can do it for a third or fourth less than what the “big” players will sell you. (Yes, we have a 5-year warranty too).

Why?  Because nurse call hardware shouldn’t be so expensive and your software should be robust and have basic IT requirements like redundancy.

We are seeing this everywhere across the country.  We get calls, emails, and web requests almost daily.  Hospitals are tired of paying so much and getting so little….and they are irritated that their mega investment has turned into a mega money pit…..and to add insult to injury, they are being treated poorly as well.   If a major vendor has their hardware in your walls, then they think they have you locked into a whatever agreement they would like….because they know it’s too expensive to change….

That’s why we developed CommonPath Canopy.  A revolutionary way to think about nurse call and patient communications.  Your investment in nurse call hardware does not have to be thrown out; oftentimes, we can reuse it and enhance it with extraordinary new capabilities, incredible tools, and the most exceptional analytics platform in the industry.   Just because your nurse call is “honey oak”doesn’t mean it can’t be revived.

That cabinet I told you about….was completely transformed and now looks spectacular.   The top was sanded and stained, the body was painted white and aged with gray wax, and the broken shelf was replaced with a wine rack.   For less than $30 in supplies, my free piece became like new and sold for nearly $400 – a donation which my son’s school appreciated very much.   You see, sometimes things we think need to be thrown out, just need to be revitalized.

Kourtney Govro

VP of Business Development & Managing Director of the Sphere3® Clinical Advisory Division

Kourtney Govro is the CEO and Founder of Sphere3®, a patient experience management software company that was recently acquired by Critical Alert. She now serves as the Vice President of Business development. She is the industry leading expert in patient communication and caregiver interaction analytics. She is a thought leader, speaker, blogger, and has research published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing Studies.