How technology has altered nursing in SA

Netcare is using a multimodal tool developed by its nurses to become more patient centric

Thursday, May 9 2013

If you have been a patient at a Netcare hospital lately, you might have noticed that the way feedback is obtained from patients has changed.

Feedback cards are fast becoming a relic of the past in Netcare hospitals, as they are replaced with multimodal technology solutions to capture patient feedback and facilitate interaction with patients. “Customer feedback is of key importance in our ongoing efforts to improve service and enhance our patients’ hospital experience. The move is one of the ways we are aiming to ensure that nurses are able to combine nursing traditions and values with enhanced listening to their patients by means of high-tech, high-touch modern equipment,” says Dr Dena van den Bergh, director - quality leadership and IT at Netcare.

Ansie Zietsman, quality leadership manager at Netcare, who spearheaded the initiative and worked closely with nursing, IT and hospital management to design and implement the interactive multimodal tool at Netcare’s hospitals, says that it helps to improve communication between nurses, patients and their families.

“In the past a paper-based, resource-intensive system was used to collect customer feedback. This data then had to be captured and sent to a third party for analysis, which could mean that nursing and hospital managers would only realise their patients’ views several months down the line. With the multimodal interaction, all the data is captured immediately providing general hospital and nursing managers with rapid feedback on how their patients feel so they may respond in real time,” says Zietsman.

This daily patient feedback also drives quality improvement (QI) and nursing teams track the effectiveness of their efforts using run charts and transparent measurement systems. Easy and transparent access to outcomes data makes it possible for nurses from different hospitals to collaborate with each other by sharing their learnings, areas of difficulty and gains in the national and international nursing fraternity, says Dr Van den Bergh.

“The tool has helped build a culture of improvement driven by patients to ensure Netcare delivers quality patient care and treats patients with the utmost dignity and respect, grounded by our unwavering commitment to the Netcare values of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion,” observes Zietsman.

The sustainable use of the system lies in the fact that nurses were fundamental to its development and that all key stakeholders, including Netcare’s patients, were consulted in the process. The tool was tested in practice, refined and tweaked until nursing and hospital managers were completely happy that it equips them to hear their patients’ voice, she adds.

“Essentially it was developed by the nurses for their patients and as a result they won’t let their creation die,” surmises Zietsman.

The questions to patients are based on international standards using approved QI methodology. This means that Netcare hospitals are on par with worldwide best practices.

Another spinoff of the tool is that it inspired other collaborative improvements among nurses in Netcare’s various hospitals, says Zietsman. “Acting on feedback obtained from patients, nursing teams in our hospitals have cooperated to develop an informative leaflet which focuses on typical concerns raised by patients, with the aim of improving our patients’ overall hospital experience. The leaflet will be distributed to patients from July onwards and nurses will spend time going through these with patients. The feedback system will continue to measure outcomes based on patients’ opinions to assist us in satisfying their needs and ensuring true patient centric care in our facilities,” concludes Zietsman.


Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Monique Vanek
Telephone : (011) 469 3016
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