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Electronic tracking of nurses’ steps enhances workflow

Patty Jo Toor, RN

When an RN in the surgical unit at Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Kissimmee has a particularly busy day and wonders why, she can access data showing exactly how many times she crisscrossed the unit or how much unplanned care a patient required. Sharing this kind of information with nurses is just one positive outcome from the hospital’s electronic
tracking project.

CNO Patty Jo Toor, MSN, RN, OCN, said the tags nurses wear on their name badges provide data that enable them to understand how their workday went.

Since beginning electronic tracking on the 31-bed surgical unit in 2011, Toor said, the data has resulted in changes improving nurses’ workflow. “The tracking data gives us a 24-hour view,” she said. Patient assignments can be made based on workflow rather than strictly observation and counting steps, as in the past.

“Wearing a tag isn’t mandatory. We told the nurses we’d like them to wear [the tag], and that that data would never be used for anything punitive.”

Ashley Simmons, director of performance improvement, said the idea emerged from electronic tracking the hospital already used for equipment — pumps, refrigerator temperature and beds. “We realized this technology could take us to a new area of tracking: our people.” Simmons said the hospital partnered with AeroScout, a branch of Stanley Healthcare, to move to this level of tracking technology, which had not been leveraged for healthcare in the past. “We’ve been working with our partners to develop new products, and this was one of those.”

At first, some RNs weren’t sold on the plan. However, now all the RNs have become convinced after seeing the advantage of improving their workflow. “The nurses have received it very well,” Toor said. “We’re a culture where everyone wants to be a better nurse. They all want to improve their workday.”

Tracking validates RN activities

Victoria Feaster, RN

Victoria Feaster, BSN, RN, is an assistant nurse manager on the surgical unit. She said the tracking has been beneficial because “it helps me validate my activities. By using the tracking, [administration] can see which patients need more of a nurse’s time in the room, as opposed to frequency of visits.” Feaster said this allows patient assignments to be based on workflow provided by the tracking data.

Patient satisfaction has risen with the growth of tracking, Simmons said. The technology enables patients to see how often and for how long nurses are in their room, assuring patients that even when they’re asleep, they’re receiving care. Patients can pull up this data via their televisions and know when nurses have been in their room and for how much time.

“There’s a lot more we’re planning,” Simmons said. “We want to take the data and tie it to outcomes. Best practice is more than just checking off a box; it’s the time you spend with patients.”

Tracking data inspires workflow changes

Among the RN workflow changes resulting from tracking data were:


Reassignment of work for different times of day when possible.
“We had been taking equipment from the dirty equipment room in the morning or at change of shift, and that’s when nurses were most busy,” Toor said. This task is now done in the middle of the night when nurses have more time. Helping the nurses see this on the data helped them make the change; it made sense to them.


Assist younger or less experienced nurses with their workflow. “We could see they weren’t as organized; by looking at their patterns of flow, we could help them see how to organize differently and be more efficient,” Toor said.


Adding hand hygiene stations inside patient rooms, which has increased hygiene practices.

By | 2020-04-15T09:22:47-04:00 September 15th, 2014|Categories: Regional, South|0 Comments

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