5 digital tools hospitals are using to save nurses' time

Research suggests hospitals that invest in nurse burnout reduction programs may see less burnout-attributed nurse turnover and associated costs. Here are five health systems that used technology to improve workflows:

  1. Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health developed an artificial intelligence tool it will use to schedule its more than 10,000 nurses. The tool allows nurses to spend less time in spreadsheets, ensures there are enough nurses for each shift and informs Sanford leaders about how many nurses should be hired for each unit, the health system said. Sanford developed the tool in hopes other systems would adopt it to address staffing and burnout issues.

  2. Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth launched a project to give nurses ​​technology that provides tools to capture patient data and said it saved nurses 64,800 hours by simplifying documentation processes within its Epic EHR. The project optimized the system's nursing documentation by reducing 18 minutes of time spent in flowsheets per nurse shift, reducing the amount of time and number of actions needed to complete documentation and cutting the required nursing documentation for the average patient by more than half.

  3. Peoria, Ill.-based OSF HealthCare piloted a customizable best practices app for nurses so they can easily access the latest information on emerging COVID-19 variants, vaccine approvals and shifting CDC guidance. The mobile-friendly platform allows for real-time updates on new treatments and changes in practice, and it also provides notifications based on information learned during team huddles.

  4. The neonatal intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is using an algorithm within its Epic EHR to calculate a score that displays infants' weight change from birth in an easily accessible time series visualization. Neonatal nurses no longer need to calculate the score on an external site, so they save 1 minute per day on each patient, the hospital said. With an average of 30 eligible patients at a time, each nurse saves 30 minutes daily, or 3.5 hours per week.

  5. Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health partnered with New England Donor Services, the northeastern U.S.' organ procurement organization, to streamline the organ donation process with an EHR tool. The system sent 5,418 electronic organ donor referrals to New England Donor Services in 2020, saving 470 hours of nurses’ time, the health system said.

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