Sunday, November 13, 2005
This presentation is part of : Technology and Informatics
Technology Innovations to Enhance Patient Safety: Fall Prevention
Teresa L. Connolly, MSN, RN, CNA, Nursing Administration, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ, USA and Teri Britt Pipe, PhD, RN, Nursing Research, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Describe five technological innovations that can be applied to prevention of inpatient falls
Learning Objective #2: Explore the use of technology in educating clinical and non-clinical staff about patient safety and fall prevention

Purpose: To describe the multiple applications of technology in an inpatient hospital setting that address the patient safety issue of fall prevention. Technology is one of the many interventions in the arsenal against threats to patient safety, and there are many innovative uses of technology within the clinical setting. When combined with clinical reasoning, caring behaviors and sound judgement, technology can play a vital role. Method: A multidisciplinary process improvement team was formed, consisting of key personnel from nursing, medicine, and therapy services. The team's goal was reduction in the number of falls and the severity of injuries from falls among inpatients. Many of the team's actions utilized technological innovations. These included a computerized, evidence-based fall risk-screening instrument. Additionally, the team developed a comprehensive on-line education module for inpatient nursing staff, outpatient nursing staff, and non-nursing staff. The web-based education has the capability to track employee participation and successful completion of the modules. Fall prevention strategies were individualized for the patient populations seen at MCH including critical care, epilepsy and acute rehabilitation and focused interventions linked to the nursing care plan were put into place. Bed alarms were rewired to activate an emergency call light rather than a room call light. Chair alarms with staff or family recorded voice prompts were implemented. Documentation in the electronic medical record was expanded and made easier to access all screens and sample care plans were laminated and distributed to all units for use. Conclusions: Innovative approaches utilizing technology continues to expand. When coupled with excellent nursing care and interdisciplinary care processes, technology holds continuing potential benefits in ensuring patient safety.