Co-Innovating With Nurses: Why It Creates The Right Solutions

Talking to the Front Line

It’s no wondering co-innovating with nurses creates the right solutions. There are 3.2 million nurses working across the U.S., and for the 17th consecutive year, the nursing profession is rated highest for honesty and ethics in Gallup’s annual poll.

As the front line of patient care, nursing is intimately tied to patient experience and clinical outcomes. Our team at Keriton knows it well. Nurses, lactation consultants, and clinical nutritionists helped us design our breast milk, donor milk, and formula management platform.

Stories of Innovation – Keriton from Penn Med Health Care Innovation on Vimeo.

But we couldn’t stop there. We continue to embed our clinical and engineering team into NICUs to discover the idiosyncrasies of feeding management in every setting – from bedside to milk room management.

Challenging the Status Quo

Feeding management is a fragmented process. It’s often stitched together by manual labeling, time wasted “bartending” milk, manual errors, and limited insights. This fragmentation becomes expensive — time wasted by highly-trained NICU nurses, the cost of the risk associated with feeding errors for premature patients, missed opportunities to engage families in care, etc.

This sentiment from Shahid Shah sums it up well: “Healthcare institutions are slow to adopt new technologies that impact the status quo … When the cost of not doing something new is low, not much changes.” Nurses helped us look and we could see the cost of the status quo was too high.

Co-Innovating by Use Cases

NICU nurses shared both the challenges and opportunities they saw to kick off the co-innovation process. To reimagine the clinical workflow, we started with a new kind of label. Nurses were already teaching moms how to pump and sending them home with clean bottles to do it. If nurses could include with the bottles a strip of pre-printed labels — that eliminated the need for moms to write on bottles — we could streamline the process and cut out opportunities for errors to be introduced. And we could eliminate re-labeling in the hospital. So, that’s where we started.

As we worked through the workflows involved in breast milk, donor milk, and formula management, we leaned on front line clinicians to illuminate the challenges and opportunities.

Iteration to Innovation

Keriton could have been just another inventory and barcoding platform. But, by working closely with nurses, lactation consultants and clinical nutritionists, we learned about the critical patient- and family-centered care gaps in the NICU. The gaps in care became problems to solve, and over time our platform was refined through prototyping and testing.

We iterated our way to real-time HIPAA compliant text chat and photo-sharing, among other features. Iteration leads to better solution design and is fundamental to design thinking. All together, we’ve been able to bridge the digital divide between the hospital and home.

Keriton is more than a pretty interface — it helps hospitals realize their strategies for communicating with digital-native and tech-savvy populations. It extends care and coaching of NICU clinicians into the home and gives parents a window into the hospital.

Things have been exciting lately. With new customer training underway, we look forward to co-innovating with more clinical teams.

Want to chat? Contact us