All truly innovative products are rooted in seeing a need based on both current and future consumer conditions. Such was the case with the GCX Patient Engagement Table that recently took the Silver Award in Product Innovation during this year’s Healthcare Design Awards.
That unique bedside table began as an idea we developed while working with our partners at Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arkansas’ largest not-for-profit healthcare system. By early 2015, patient and clinician tablet usage was rising rapidly and tablets were on the verge of becoming a key tool for improving patient engagement – a growing priority at healthcare organizations. Many hospitalized patients, however, are bedridden and lack the dexterity or strength to effectively self-manage these mobile devices. Applications for entertainment, patient education, patient/physician communication, environmental controls and basic web access are crucial to enhance the overall patient experience.
Hospitals had begun brainstorming ways to boost HCAHPS patient survey scores and lower post-discharge readmissions—both of which impact reimbursement. Key to such metrics was keeping patients engaged with their care teams and compliant with their care plans.
Excited by the possibilities, we started building a bedside table for tablet usage. As with all GCX mounting solutions, it would be made of durable materials that were rigorously tested to withstand repeated use and harsh hospital cleaning regimens. It would be safe to move in a variety of positions and have optional power outlets to keep patient devices charged. It also could adapt to future technologies.
Initial internal reaction was, well, mixed. Some loved the idea; others found it too “pie in the sky.” Still, our instincts (fashioned after almost 50 years in the medical mounting space) told us to soldier on. We debuted a quickly made prototype for our HIMSS15 booth in Chicago, and hundreds of people were very intrigued and enthusiastic.
This validated the need for bedside tablet usage. We designed and then began piloting what became known as the GCX Patient Engagement Table within months of that show. Since then, we’ve created several iterations on the basic design after working with hospitals on their implementations to make sure our solution fits our customers’ needs.
Today, the GCX Patient Engagement Table and a suite of products it inspired are now in major healthcare systems worldwide. It’s being used to improve the patient experience in numerous hospital areas: patient rooms; infusion clinics; EDs/ERs; PACUs; NICUs; outpatient clinics and long-term care facilities.
In receiving one of the top product innovation awards last month, the judges noted the need our over-bed table fulfilled. “I have had a number of clients ask for an over-bed table that integrated an iPad or tablet devices with a charger,” said one judge. “This is the first product to achieve this goal.”
Product innovation comes from knowing your customers and anticipating a need, and maybe trusting instincts over critics. Our award-winning solution began with an idea, a great partnership, inspiring prototype, successful pilot program and, as always, a strong commitment to improving caregiving, which is the cornerstone of our GCX business model.