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An ontology-based nurse call management system (oNCS) with probabilistic priority assessment

Author(s): Ongenae Femke | Myny Dries | Dhaene Tom | Defloor Tom | Van Goubergen Dirk | Verhoeve Piet | Decruyenaere Johan | De Turck Filip

Journal: BMC Health Services Research
ISSN 1472-6963

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 26;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background The current, place-oriented nurse call systems are very static. A patient can only make calls with a button which is fixed to a wall of a room. Moreover, the system does not take into account various factors specific to a situation. In the future, there will be an evolution to a mobile button for each patient so that they can walk around freely and still make calls. The system would become person-oriented and the available context information should be taken into account to assign the correct nurse to a call. The aim of this research is (1) the design of a software platform that supports the transition to mobile and wireless nurse call buttons in hospitals and residential care and (2) the design of a sophisticated nurse call algorithm. This algorithm dynamically adapts to the situation at hand by taking the profile information of staff members and patients into account. Additionally, the priority of a call probabilistically depends on the risk factors, assigned to a patient. Methods The ontology-based Nurse Call System (oNCS) was developed as an extension of a Context-Aware Service Platform. An ontology is used to manage the profile information. Rules implement the novel nurse call algorithm that takes all this information into account. Probabilistic reasoning algorithms are designed to determine the priority of a call based on the risk factors of the patient. Results The oNCS system is evaluated through a prototype implementation and simulations, based on a detailed dataset obtained from Ghent University Hospital. The arrival times of nurses at the location of a call, the workload distribution of calls amongst nurses and the assignment of priorities to calls are compared for the oNCS system and the current, place-oriented nurse call system. Additionally, the performance of the system is discussed. Conclusions The execution time of the nurse call algorithm is on average 50.333 ms. Moreover, the oNCS system significantly improves the assignment of nurses to calls. Calls generally have a nurse present faster and the workload-distribution amongst the nurses improves.
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