Hospitals and other healthcare settings are places to get help. Unfortunately, no matter how hard a staff member works to keep the environment sanitary, they’re going to be places you can contract an infectious disease.
Fortunately, advanced paging systems are giving many healthcare organizations new tools to attack the problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 1.2 million Americans a year contract infections in non-intensive care areas of hospitals, despite facilities’ best efforts at cleaning and sanitizing. It’s simply impossible to kill all the germs, especially in a place filled with sick people.
Visit a clinic or hospital during flu season and you’ll see what we mean. Patients commonly wait for an hour or more to see a doctor. And waiting rooms are filled with family members reading magazines, watching TV or playing with toys. All those people equal a lot of germs.
It’s probably suffice to say, your guests don’t want to be there. And if a visit is unavoidable, you want it to be as brief as possible.
Hospitals are Breeding Grounds for Germs
The problem has been blamed, in part, for the rise of so-called “superbugs,” antibiotic-resistant germs that can kill. Hospitals in 42 states reported cases involving a superbug in the first half of 2012, according to the CDC.
Healthcare organizations are taking several steps to cut down on the dangers, including new cleaning regimens and methods of isolating sick patients. They’re also taking a close look at the patient environment, including how long and where they are asked to wait.
For example, you might have noticed that fewer waiting rooms have magazines lying around for you to read. That’s because research finds they can be dirty. A study by German researchers found that four types of bacteria, including E. coli and staph, can live on paper for up to three days.
The same goes for waiting room toys. Two studies from England and New Zealand show that toys can harbor and spread germs, especially if they have been touched by someone with a history of an infectious disease.
An Even Better Idea: Don’t Keep People Waiting
But there’s an even better way to prevent the spread of germs – don’t keep people confined to a designated waiting area. Technology has made it possible for patients to check-in online and show up when a doctor is available to see them, meaning fewer sick people waiting around.
By using , patients can be freed from germy waiting areas, and the nurse’s station is no longer the crowded, confusing place where strangers mingle. Family members can head to the hospital’s restaurant or an outdoor area, knowing they won’t be out of touch when the doctor makes his or her rounds.
When their loved one is ready to visit or the doctor is available to speak with them, hospital staff can send a silent page, removing the need to sit in the waiting room with the ill guests waiting to be admitted.
There are even antimicrobial paging devices available that present yet another way to prevent the spread of germs.
The added bonus for all of this technology is that it also makes healthcare staff more efficient, allowing them to see more patients in a given period of time. All of this serves to improve the hospital experience for patients and their guests while ensuring organizations do all they can to prevent the spread of dangerous germs.
Mai Lyn Ngo is a marketing coordinator at LRS and ambassador for solutions that create a better guest experience.