Background: Although a patient care system may help nurses handle patients’ requests or provide timely assistance to those in need, there are a number of barriers faced by nurses in handling alarms. Methods: The aim of the study was to describe the implementation and experience of an innovative smart patient care system (SPCS). This study applied a cross-sectional descriptive design. We recruited 82 nurses from a medical center in Taiwan, with 25 nurses from a ward that had introduced an SPCS and 57 nurses from wards that used the traditional patient care system (TPCS). The major advantages of the SPCS compared to the TPCS include the specification of alarm purposes, the routing of alarms directly to the mobile phone; the capability of immediate communication via phone; and three-stage bed-exit alerts with low false alarm rate. Results: Approximately 56% of nurses in the TPCS wards perceived that the bed-exit alert was easily ignorable, while this rate was reduced to 32% in the SPCS ward. The immediate communication via phone was considered as the most helpful function of the SPCS, with a weighted average score of 3.92/5, and 52% of nurses strongly agreed (5/5) that this function was helpful. The second-highest ranked function was the three-stage bed-exit alert, with an average score of 3.68/5, with approximately 24% of nurses strongly agreeing (5/5) that this function was helpful. The average response time using TPCS was 145.66 s while it was 59.02 s using the SPCS (P <.001). Among the 110 observed alarms in the SPCS ward, none of them were false bed-exit alarms. In comparison, among 120 observed alarms in the TPCS wards, 42 (35%) of them were false bed-exit alarms (P <.001). In this study, we found that 30.91% of alarms using SPCS were processed because nurses received and responded to the alert via mobile phone. Conclusions: A smart patient care system is needed to help nurses make more informed prioritization decisions between responding to alarms and ongoing tasks and finally assist them in adjusting their work in various situations to improve work efficiency and care quality.
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