All you have to do is read words in this picture, which was taken by one of our salespeople when touring a community that just installed a new emergency call system from a competitor. WOW! I cannot believe that someone would actually write that memo - clearly aware of the implications of not obeying - and think that just writing a note makes everything OK.
IT'S NOT OK! You are tasked with making sure that a resident's call for help gets answered. And for lots of reasons, including this one, a personal computer is a completely inappropriate engine for an nurse call system. In case you can't read the picture, here is what it says.
"Please do not use this computer to go onto the internet. This computer runs our nurse call system and is vitally important. Thanks, Jane."
Jane - Rather than writing a memo, you should have thrown that system out and replaced it with one that is not computer based. Can any of you think of a single system that is a life safety device that runs on a Windows computer? Please leave a comment to this post if you can.
Defibrillators? No. Airplane Avionics? No. Dialysis Equipment? No. Automobile Electronics? No.
When you hear about someone who is on "life support," do you think it would be wise to have that equipment run by a Windows computer? No way. So why is it OK to put the lives of senior living residents in the temperamental control of a Windows personal computer? Short answer....It isn't! They freeze up. They need rebooting. Software needs updating. They aren't battery backed up for longer than a few minutes. Really the list is endless.
Staff can close the program. Staff can turn them off (on purpose, or on accident). And, as in the case captured in this picture, staff can browse the internet while calls for help go unanswered. It simply isn't necessary.
On an enterprise quality nurse call system, the main servers, switches, routers and gateways use embedded systems, industrial microcontrollers, sophisticated power supplies, elaborate supervision and battery back-up methodologies. There are design tolerances measured in sub-1% range. User GUIs are browser based and access data on the system, but do not control the system. Visit Auditrak.com, for an example of a killer call system GUI that resides in the cloud.
As I looked at the picture in the beginning of this article, I was so frustrated at the lack of seriousness with which Jane took her role as caregiver. In fairness, Jane probably did not select that system. Someone at her corporate office, who doesn't have to respond to an emergency call - ever - probably picked it as a result of their beauraucratic purchasing system. Still...the kind of compromise and accommodation Jane is forced into is simply not necessary. There are other options.