Published: 2018-03-28

Digital tools mean more time for patients

More time for patients, safer care and a stronger team spirit. Through the introduction of the mobile COSMIC Nova Ward interface, Ward 30 of the Kalmar County Hospital has become the perfect example of successful digitalisation and change management in healthcare. Following good results on the ward, the hospital is now planning for broad implementation of the system.

An exciting pilot project started in the autumn of 2014 on the palliative ward of the Geriatrics Clinic of the Kalmar County Hospital. Ward 30 was to be the first care unit in the country to test the digital and mobile operational support system COSMIC Nova Ward.

“It has definitely given us more time with patients as well as a better team spirit and better collaboration between different occupational categories,” says nurse Anders Carming, who was the implementation project leader. “It also makes it easier to see what treatment has been prescribed for each patient, which in turn means safer care.”

Replaces boards and notepads
COSMIC Nova Ward consists of two components, Nova Board and Nova Tablets, which are directly connected to the COSMIC patient records system. Nova Board replaces analogue whiteboards by interactive digital boards. These digital whiteboards make it easier for staff to maintain a shared overview of the situation on the ward and also make it possible to provide more detailed information about individual patients.

Nova Tablet replaces analogue notepads and notes on scraps of paper in the day-to-day work. The portable device gives healthcare staff access to patient information, they can tick off completed tasks and enter the results of various checks. Once entered the information is immediately visible both in the records system and on Nova Board.

“We have implemented this in combination with a concept we call bedside reporting,” says Anders Carming. “Hand-over reporting between day and evening staff now includes input from the patients. For such reporting to work well we need a Nova Tablet available so that we can quickly retrieve the information the patient requests.”

Example of successful change management
The tests of Nova Ward started on Ward 30 in the autumn of 2014 and continued through 2015 and 2016.
Anders Carming reports that the test evaluations indicated major time-savings, increased patient participation and improved team spirit among staff.
“One of the reasons for our success was that our group of ‘superusers’ had a mandate to change routines and the possibility of steering the work. In this way, we avoided drawn-out discussions and were able to make changes as we went along.”

By using this approach, the new tools were not forced into existing work routines but could instead be the starting point for something entirely new. Anders Carming feels that the implementation of COSMIC Nova Ward was a good example of how healthcare can handle change management, and recounts that management at all levels, from immediate line managers to the hospital’s senior management, provided constant support for the project group and gave them the mandate and the time to develop both tools and procedures.

At the same time, the project group was not working in a vacuum. During the configuration of COSMIC Nova Ward to reflect the needs of the ward, there was close collaboration with both Cambio and the County Council’s IT department. Staff from the IT department were also able to be present on the ward to gain a better understanding of how the digital tools related to actual healthcare activities.

“We became aware of the differences in the language we speak and were thus able to learn from one another,” says Anders Carming. “Furthermore, we didn’t configure this in an office behind closed doors. We put the big screen in the ward office and did the configuration as staff dropped by, looked at what we were doing and asked questions. Once we were finished, everyone already had an idea of what it was all about. Everyone was onboard well before the train left the station.”

One hour more with patients
The result of this project has been easy to see. In staff surveys, 80% stated that the use of COSMIC Nova Board freed up time for patients. Observations made at the end of the pilot study also showed that work related to ward rounds took one hour less than before, time that could instead be spent with patients. Based on these results, the rest of the Kalmar County Hospital is now ready to undertake the same journey.

“We expect to be able to begin large-scale implementation during 2018,” says Anders Carming. “A number of wards are queuing up to get under way and are just waiting for the go-ahead.”

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