The ObservSMART system is a proximity solution designed to solve one of the most significant challenges behavioral health facilities face on a daily basis: consistent, validated patient observation. Healthcare providers can rely on ObservSMART to monitor patients and ensure staff compliance using customized parameters that cater to the needs of their unique unit.

Shaina Smolowe, Director of Customer Success at InvisAlert Solutions, explains how the ObservSMART system serves as an indispensable tool for behavioral health professionals.

Q&A: How ObservSMART helps behavioral health patients and staff

Q: What is ObservSMART?

A: ObservSMART is a patented product that improves Q15 compliance, ensuring overall better patient safety and quality of care. This is achieved through patient wristbands that sync with software to perform patient checks. This equipment relies on proximity — health checks can only be performed and documented if a staff member is near the patient, therefore ensuring compliance. 

Q: Why is ObservSMART important?

A: Patient safety is the number one priority. Patients go to these [behavioral health] facilities because it is the safer and better option for them. It is crucial that staff are seeing the patient on regular intervals to ensure that they are providing the safest environment possible.

And this remains especially true during the pandemic. Mental health didn’t go anywhere — people are still suffering. Now, facilities are being overrun with patients who are seeking help during these difficult times.

Q: Why is ObservSMART more efficient than traditional Q15 checks?

A: Using traditional methods for patient checks, everything is documented on paper or e-tablets, but there is no validated compliance. If there was a sentinel event, leadership would have to gather everyone’s paper records, check cameras, and document what was seen in order to understand if the event was avoidable. They check to see if the staff were doing their rounds like they were supposed to.

ObservSmart ensures compliance. The data that we provide on rounding and proximity is essential and eliminates the uncertainty of using paper. Seeing how close in proximity staff was to a patient is an invaluable measure that other systems aren’t able to provide. There are supervisory alerts to help avoid sentinel events, so supervisors can intervene in real-time to make sure that the patient is getting the best care.

Q: Is ObservSMART flexible to specific patient needs?

A: Yes. For example, the health checks can be adjusted to intervals other than fifteen minutes. I have seen them as low as 5 minutes and as high as an hour. 

It depends on the type of facility, whether it’s inpatient, residential, substance abuse or detox. 15 minutes is the standard for inpatient, which is the most common interval. Now, we are seeing many more variables as we are growing and branching out to different types of facilities. We also accommodate 1:1 rounding for higher acuity patients.

Heart and Head for Patient Safety Checks

Q: Does ObservSMART actually improve client experience and patient safety?

A: Many organizations have reported noticeable improvements as a result of ObservSMART.

We’ve heard things like, “it helps me sleep better at night,” and, “it’s the smartest thing we’ve ever done,” from our clients who have implemented ObservSMART in their facilities. 

Melissa Larkin-Skinner, regional CEO of Centerstone, a not-for-profit health system, said in a press release, “This technology is vastly enhancing the way we observe and monitor patients in our care. Our staff is able to manage more efficiently the required round-the-clock 15-minute checks that are standard care for behavioral health patients. In turn, supervisory staff can validate that patients are being observed and clinicians can provide real-time feedback and care instructions.”

Q: How does ObservSMART affect staff workload and workflow?

A: Designed by and for behavioral health staff, our solution supports the most complex workflows and improves communication among staff. Our proprietary management processes help you operationalize and offer your team the appropriate tools to effectively and efficiently perform their responsibilities. After implementation, our clients report an overall decrease in workload.

A decrease in workload and improvement of communication can allow for better overall quality of staff productivity.

Q: Why is analytics in healthcare important? How does it affect employee performance?

A: Staff and leadership can see real-time performance to quickly understand, if improvements need to be made. It also allows staff to be recognized when they are doing a good job. 

We recommend pairing weaker performers with stronger performers. We find when a facility meets more regularly with the staff about compliance, these numbers start to go up and staff compliance improves. 

Q: What happens after we implement ObersvSMART in our facility?

A: We develop strong customer relationships, and if we can work together to improve patient safety, then we are doing our job. After implementation, we meet with leadership weekly until they are comfortable, and then quarterly to keep everyone on track. We are invested in your success.  

With ObservSMART’s experience with other clients, we can help drive best practices and allow for positive changes.

Conclusion

As healthcare professionals ourselves, improving safety is our number-one priority. We designed ObservSMART to give healthcare staff — and patients — the peace of mind they deserve. With its ability to record essential patient data, improve staff workflow and performance, and set and ensure patient monitoring parameters, ObservSMART is a powerful tool capable of keeping patients safe and improving care.

Contact us to learn how InvisAlert Solutions can make your behavioral health facility a safer place for everyone.

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