Selecting the Best Nurse Call System: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Responder Blog on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 11:12 AM

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The nurse call systems comparison process doesn’t have to be daunting. Understanding what steps you take and what to consider when researching the many different national call systems available for your hospital or health system will simplify the process from selection through implementation. Partnering with the right technology provider will also ensure your organization achieves its short and long term goals. From identifying your hospital's technical needs to measuring ROI, this comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the selection process to help you choose the best nurse call system for your facility.

Identify Nurse Call Needs & Budget

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Set Realistic Goals and Identify Objectives

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Take Inventory of Current Healthcare Technology

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Test Compatibility

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Research Your Options

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Meet with National Call Systems Vendors

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Train and Support

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Review Impact on Bottom Line

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Step 1: Identify Nurse Call Needs & Budget

An advanced nurse call system improves communication and workflow across many teams within an organization. The type of nurse call system and key capabilities that work best for an organization can be influenced by a multitude of factors including facility size, location, patient demographics and departmental needs. For example, a hospital in a densely-populated, urban setting will have significantly different needs and resource demands than those of a rural facility.

Take time to work with all groups that would impacted by new national call systems – clinical, IT, transport, environmental services, radiology, pharmacy, facilities – to identify each team’s unique needs, preferences, resources and areas for quality improvement.

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Gauge different stakeholders’ priorities with questions such as:

  • How does your team use the nurse call system?
  • What specific goals is your team working toward?
  • What data collection/analysis capabilities do you use or would you like access to?
  • What could increase patient satisfaction scores?
  • Where is the biggest opportunity to develop staff?
  • What patient/staff data is currently limited or lacking?

Once acquired, you can use the lists to compare all needs and priorities to the capabilities offered by different national call systems to see which solutions check the most boxes for all stakeholders. You may find that the nurse call system will be utilized differently across teams, with each group optimizing a variety of capabilities to meet their own goals.

For example, clinical staff may call for direct notifications of patient needs to improve workflow while ancillary departments use direct notifications for monitoring resource use and patient transport efficiency. IT departments might prioritize solutions that leverage current infrastructure to reduce costs while patient satisfaction scores are boosted by technology that keeps the healing environment clean and quiet.

A new nurse call system is a 15+ year investment in a technology that will reach a variety of stakeholders and tasks. While functionality and quality will be the main determining factors, it is also important to know your nurse call implementation and maintenance budget to help guide the purchase. Luckily, many systems are customizable to meet the unique needs of the organization.

To ensure you select the best nurse call system for your organization’s needs, ask stakeholders to rate the importance of each capability. You can narrow down your options based on the top priorities of each team, while cutting costs when necessary by opting out of certain features or add-ons that are less valuable to the stakeholders.

Tip: Don’t forget to include ongoing maintenance and support for the nurse call system in the overall budget.

Step 2: Set Realistic Implementation Goals and Identify Objectives

The second step in selecting the best nurse call system for your hospital or health system is to outline all attainable goals and objectives.


Nurses are in a unique position to identify and implement innovative and evidence-based practices. An advanced nurse call system will help your nurses demonstrate ongoing quality improvement. It will also support patient and staff satisfaction by boosting responsiveness with streamlined communication and workflows.

In your nurse call systems comparison, you should also Identify specific areas of practice to understand how new technology can help achieve your measurable and realistic goals. Be sure to map out a clear strategy for tracking key performance indicators over time to monitor return on investment.

Some examples of measurable nurse call goals include:

If you have not met your goals after collecting data on key performance indicators, you can analyze the information and adjust your quality improvement strategy to generate more significant results. The real-time data generated from advanced national call systems enable nimble changes and adjustments. This, in turn, will allow stakeholders to fully utilize the data when making quick decisions or planning future projects.

Tip: When setting goals, understand the availability of data from a new nurse call system and its possible integration with other Business Intelligence (BI) systems.

Step 3: Take Inventory of Current Healthcare Technology to Optimize Nurse Call Integrations

Before you select and deploy national call systems, it's important to elect an internal advocate to be involved in all processes.


This project manager will oversee gathering of information, collaborating with different teams and the vendor, and ensuring continued training and support for optimal performance. The best nurse call system and support resources will fit seamlessly into existing technologies to enhance workflows, limit disruptions and improve performance. To ensure a nurse call system is integrated successfully, you must understand your organization’s needs, capabilities and goals.

Take inventory of existing infrastructure to identify what technologies are outdated or need replacing, resources that are lacking, and solutions that will continue to be used during an upgrade or investment in new technology.

For example, review solutions such as:

  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Mobile devices
  • Medical devices
  • Real Time Location Systems (RTLS)

Keep track of what resources are missing or need to be replaced and be sure to fill in those gaps before selecting a nurse call system. This will ensure a seamless implementation process – saving time and reducing headaches.

Tip: National call systems can often integrate with your hospital's existing technology or fill some of your hospital's missing technical needs. Make sure to identify all of your current technology that you would like to integrate!

Step 4: Test Compatibility

Collaborate with IT departments to identify national call systems that will not only work with existing IT infrastructure, but will require the least time and money to integrate and maintain. This will ensure the selection is not only cost-efficient, but reduces unnecessary work for all impacted groups in the short and long term.

The best nurse call system will be easily assimilated with your medical devices and existing IT infrastructure – such as EMRs, cardiac monitoring, telemetry, wireless phones or biomedical equipment – so as to enhance communication between staff and patients, improve response times and share critical information in real time.

Achieving interoperability with multiple systems without the use of middleware allows national call systems to support safe practice processes while creating opportunities for improvement. It is important to know what nurse call system options work best with your current products and systems so both categories are fully-optimized and the highest return on investment is realized.

Tip: Avoid using middleware with your future nurse call system by checking the requirements of planned integrations. Make sure to also research the existing nurse call technology partners.

Step 5: Research Your Options

Now that you know what your new system should and help achieve, start the nurse call systems comparison process by researching your options and speaking with potential technology partners.

You can gather a wealth of insight from:

Consider positive and negative reviews online to determine which solutions may prove most beneficial to your organization. Look for nurse call installation success stories that address a situation or goals similar to your own.

Trade shows are another great way to gather and compare information from a variety of nurse call vendors.

Some of the key annual healthcare technology events are:

Visit a nurse call system manufacturer’s solution center for an in-person demonstration within a simulated healthcare environment. This is an opportunity to ask specific questions while gaining a better understanding of how to optimize each capability in a real-world application. View Rauland's Responder® 5 Solution Center in Mount Prospect, IL, as an example.

If the information online and from industry events becomes overwhelming, reach out to a colleague for an honest opinion. Sometimes the best advice is from someone who has firsthand experience implementing national call systems and related technologies.

Step 6: Meet with National Call Systems Vendors and Set a Game Plan

Once a product has been selected, partner with a team of nurse call vendor specialists to finalize the purchase, manage the implementation, integrate with existing technologies and address professional training services.


It may prove beneficial to work with a technology partner in your local community, as their service center is more accessible for immediate questions or concerns throughout the purchasing and implementation processes, as well as for ongoing service demands. With a partner nearby, you can save time and money that would be lost when collaborating with a more remote vendor.

You must dedicate adequate resources to the nurse call implementation process from start to finish. This includes preparing a formal implementation plan or strategy that centers on collaborative teamwork to guarantee all needs and objectives are met.

To make for a smoother roll-out with limited hiccups, the best nurse call system implementation plan will:

  • Provide a goal
  • Improve communication between teams
  • Ensure adherence to project schedule
  • Increase project productivity
  • Reduce inefficiencies
  • Help identify problems early for swift resolution

Tip: The right technology provider can become a partner you can rely on for initial guidance and expertise, as well as ongoing nurse call support and maintenance to ensure the technology is utilized to its full potential.

Step 7: Train and Support

Training and supporting staff on how best to leverage the new nurse call system is paramount to the success of the technology. Guarantee staff understanding and satisfaction with the nurse call system by providing upfront training, follow-up assessments and ongoing access to resources.


National call systems training can be a costly and time-consuming process, however, which underscores the importance of being thorough and providing support. When partnering with the vendor to devise a training strategy for your hospital or health system staff, consider a four-step approach:

You must dedicate adequate resources to the nurse call implementation process from start to finish. This includes preparing a formal implementation plan or strategy that centers on collaborative teamwork to guarantee all needs and objectives are met.

  • 1. Facilitate a needs assessment
  • 2. Prepare and conduct staff training
  • 3. Support initial system launch
  • 4. Establish a post-launch system assessment to address any concerns

Your vendor partner should provide support for nursing and staff throughout the entire process from product selection and implementation to training. Ideal support from the vendor partner includes regular system upgrades to integrate new features and benefits as they are developed, as well as additional services training or analytics reports.

Tip: Make sure to conduct a post-launch assessment to address lessons learned and change control process.

Step 8: Review Impact on the Bottom Line

With the transition to a value-based reimbursement model, a dramatic paradigm shift in healthcare economics has occurred – driving quality and safety in hospitals while determining payment based on demonstrated quality outcomes. Investing in the best nurse call system can improve your competitive potential in the value-based reimbursement model by deploying evidence-based practice strategies and measuring results.


Selecting the best advanced nurse call system will help you advance patient safety, internal workflow, patient and provider satisfaction, reimbursement rates and overall efficiency. To gauge performance, track key indicators that will directly impact your operations and outcomes, such as meeting of patient needs, use of labor resources and workflow efficiency, which in turn influence reimbursement rates.

For example, choosing the best nurse call system can measurably influence your HCAHPS scores through advancements in nurse communication, cleanliness and quietness, responsiveness of staff and pain management. As a result, continually high HCAHPS scores can help qualify your hospital for an additional 1 to 3 percent in reimbursement fees.

Once performance and results are measured, compare the data to the goals defined for each team. The best nurse call system will not only help all stakeholders achieve their goals, but also provide metrics and reports on activities to support decision making and quality improvement. Through real-time data collection and reporting, national call systems will assist in demonstrating high-quality care by increasing accountability and tracking measurable outcomes. This ensures maximum reimbursement based on performance in HCAHPS, process of care measures, outcome measures and overall efficiency.

Tip: Refine your organization's technology goals through the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) quality process.

Choose Rauland as Your National Call Systems Provider

Your nurse call systems comparison process stops at Rauland. Our Responser® Enterprise nurse call system is proven to improve clinical workflow, integrate with multiple system technologies and seamlessly gather data to increase staff satisfaction and the quality of patient care. Learn more about all Responder nurse call solutions or contact Rauland today to get started.

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