This year, a key theme for HIMSS20 is curbing clinical burnout with IT solutions.

As the HIMSS20 Global Health Conference & Exhibition approaches, we sat down with Mary Piepenbrink, RN, BSN, MBA and Vice President of Sales for Lightning Bolt to discuss all things HIMSS20. Having spent more than twenty-five years in the healthcare industry as both a clinician and a leader in information technology software and service solutions, Mary brings a unique perspective to healthcare technology.

This year’s keynote is Arianna Huffington who will be highlighting her work to end the burnout epidemic. Could you discuss how that connects to Lightning Bolt’s mission?

One of the things happening with caregivers, especially with nurses, physicians, and mid-level practitioners is they’re experiencing the pressure to see more patients and do more. They’re under enormous stress. And the patients they’re seeing don’t just have clinical issues, but more and more of these patients are affected by social determinants of health. Trying to treat these patients holistically is really difficult if you have 10 minutes per patient, or you are caring for extremely ill inpatients.

So, what we’re asking is how can technology and software companies provide tools that make the workflow of the caregiver better? With PerfectServe’s Clinical Communication & Collaboration platform (CC&C) it’s how do I reach a provider when a patient needs critical care? Or, if I’m a provider, how do I know the right information is coming to me on my phone so that I can respond? If I’m in the ED and need a specialist now, who is on call? Lightning Bolt does this from a scheduling perspective for providers. What they’re looking for are tools that make tasks smarter, faster, and completely accurate to help offset the stress and the difficulties clinical teams face caring for patients today. For providers, balancing their clinic, inpatient, and call schedule has become difficult. So, is there a way for providers to have some work-life balance? That’s what we’re all searching for.

Scheduling providers is incredibly difficult for a human to do, especially when you have a large practice or department with complex needs. Lightning Bolt’s software uses advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to process all of those complex scheduling variables and output the most balanced schedule possible for that group. If we can help them create the most equalized schedule across their practice, then that takes care of one aspect that helps providers get through the day, the week, the month.

We recently heard from a physician customer who said, “You know, before Lightning Bolt, I was spending 20% of my time making the schedule for our practice.” It was kind of stunning. I said, “20% of your time, so 80% clinically and 20% making a schedule? Why wouldn’t you let an administrative person do that?” And he said, “Because my life matters that much to me. I have to make sure my schedule works for my life or I can’t do this.” To be able to give him a tool that could create that schedule for him is pretty amazing. He could take that 20% and go back to caring for patients – working at the top of his license.

You’re delivering a Lightning Session at this year’s conference. Could you give us some key highlights of your session? Why should IT leaders tune in?

What we want to do is describe not only how Lightning Bolt helps doctors and individual practices—but across the health system enterprise. Everybody in the organization, back to those nurses who are taking care of patients, inpatient and outpatient, has visibility into scheduling across the organization. Lightning Bolt becomes a source of truth for their individual schedules within their department and practice, and also for all the providers in the enterprise. So, if I’m a nurse in the emergency department and I need to find the neurologist on call for a critical patient, I can go to my messaging platform, like PerfectServe, select neurologist on call and I can message that provider immediately and connect with them because Lightning Bolt has updated the schedule in real-time directly to the communication device.

What that does is not only make my workflow easier but also saves a considerable amount of time getting care to the patient. So, it’s a speed to care issue and to me, as a nurse, it’s just huge. It’s what we worry about all the time as nurses. Did we forget something? Did it take too long? Are they waiting? Do we need to get an order quickly? Being able to have technology enhance the workflow is really awesome. Instead of burdening caregivers, we need to use technology to help them “burn back in” and find joy and reward in the work they do.

I’m going to talk about how our solutions support caregiver workflow and in particular provider workflow. We’re also going to share some testimonials from our actual clients. Our session will show how Lightning Bolt is helping the individual provider specialty practices as well as large health system enterprises. It’s laying a platform that allows everyone in the healthcare system to know who’s on call, who’s in the clinic, who’s in a meeting, who’s off so that they can get the right person at the right time when there’s a patient need. This not only helps the provider in their work-life balance but also supports the enterprise initiative of speed to care.

What really sets Lightning Bolt’s solution apart in the physician and staff scheduling space in your mind? What’s that key differentiator for our clients?

What differentiates Lightning Bolt is the advanced algorithmic rules that I alluded to and the technology behind that. We call it combinatorial optimization. The majority of the other scheduling systems on the market use a heuristic method to create a schedule as fast as possible. While the schedule is generated, unfortunately only about 50% of it is complete. An administrator, scheduler, chief or doctor then has to go in and figure out how to complete the rest of the schedule.

What sets Lightning Bolt apart is the solution completes the whole schedule without any gaps using advanced technology that includes as many rules as needed, as well as provider preferences. Lightning Bolt can account for the hours needed to be staffed, who’s eligible to fill certain shifts or handle certain appointments, or who can practice in a particular location.

The other thing we allow for is the scheduling rules being configurable and tailored to that individual practice within the organization. For each specialty, we ask what do you need? How can we help you set this up? We train the client, work through setup, and then after implementation, they have full and complete access to our rules editor so they can make changes when they want. Customers are able to run a report and see what’s working well or where they may need to tweak. We don’t lock any of that away from them. They have full access, and our customers love that.

And last, Lightning Bolt has this very specific comprehensiveness. For example, there are some specialties and groups where scheduling is pretty straightforward, they don’t really need combinatorial optimization and all those different rules. For these organizations, we have a different product called Guided Scheduling that’s very straightforward and easy. Plug it in, it works, and then they’re on the platform. And if the complexity is needed, our software is there and supports those needs. Lightning Bolt has the right solution for everybody within the enterprise. It’s not one size fits all.

I love that I am a part of a suite of solutions that support caregivers who take care of patients. I can’t wait to share some of our customers’ stories at HIMSS.

Watch our Virtual HIMSS Lightning Session

Learn more about Lightning Bolt by replaying our Lightning Session at HIMSS20. Hear first-hand from our clients how Lightning Bolt improves work-life balance and streamlines workflows.

Want to see our solution in action?  Request a demo of Lightning Bolt to speak to a Solution Specialist.

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