Speaking the Language of a Nurse … and a Healthcare Systems Engineer

What happens when you bring nurses, clinicians, programmers, project managers, and engineers in a room together to talk about patient-staff communication and workflow? Because each group speaks a different language, the end result depends on how well they can communicate.

To overcome this barrier, CEC hired its first clinical applications specialist in 2018: someone who could work side by side with hospitals to identify pain points from a clinical perspective and bring these problems back to our engineering team to solve.

Today, we’ve built an entire team of clinical applications specialists: four experts who have the right combination of healthcare know-how and an understanding of healthcare communications technology.

“We almost serve as translators or mediators,” says Leah Fisher, a CEC clinical applications specialist. “We can speak the language of a nurse and a system designer or engineer. That way, clinicians have confidence that we know what they’re going through and can convey that to our internal teams.”

Even before a hospital decides to work with CEC, they sit down with one of our clinical applications specialists to go through a needs assessment. “We want to explain what they’re doing currently, and what they could be doing instead,” says René Crow, clinical applications specialist.

The goal is to build a clear understanding of existing workflows and identify problems with communication, patient treatment, and satisfaction levels. From there, our team explains how a nurse call system designed and installed by CEC can support better, faster, and cleaner work while also boosting care and reducing workloads. 

Often, Clinical Applications Specialist Matthew Munyakazi sees disconnects between decision-makers (like clinical leaders) and end-users (like nurse managers) who make use of the systems. In his mind, clinical applications specialists also exist to connect the dots and explain how the system can be relevant to both parties. He makes sure the right people are involved in the details and decision-making so everyone sees value in using the system.

“Having those kinds of dialogues early in the process brings lots of value,” explains Crow. “We take what we learn back to our engineers, programmers, and technicians in language they use so they better understand what the client is struggling with. That helps them design a better solution.”

It goes beyond just installing devices in a room. Our experts help clients think about things like where devices should be installed within a room: Where will it make the most sense for the nurse using it? Will they have to reach across a patient to activate it?

“We see hospitals purchase systems and just install them. Then the users are left wondering, ‘Why is this button here instead of over there? If it was over there instead, it would be much more useful. If it’s here, I won’t use it,’ explains Clinical Applications Specialist Tori Nevins. “We can facilitate those kinds of conversations between clinical leaders and the nurses who will use the technology to ask those hard questions. Then we take it back to the CEC team and bridge that gap between the two parties.”

Once the project is ready to move forward, our clinical applications specialists are there through it all to answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and facilitate communication between clinical staff and CEC’s engineering team. After the project is complete, they’re onsite once again to provide hands-on training and show nurses exactly what they can do with their new technology.

“If clinicians don’t understand how their system can be useful to them, then they won’t use it—and that defeats the purpose,” says Munyakazi. “We want to make sure they’re using what they invest in so they get a high return.”

Because CEC works with such a wide variety of hospitals and organizations, our team can apply the lessons they’ve learned and success stories they’ve seen to improve customers’ daily work.

“Our goal is to maintain a valuable relationship and continue to touch base with each customer,” says Munyakazi. “We don’t want to install a system, walk away, and hope it’s working well. As new pain points emerge, we want to be right there to address them.”

Meet Our Clinical Applications Specialists




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