Changes to the Patient Experience in 2021

Patty Riskind, Head of Global Healthcare for Qualtrics, authored an article for titled 8 Patient Experience Trends to Watch in 2021. The article discusses the changes currently taking place in the healthcare industry in response to the 2019 Coronavirus pandemic that exposed the inefficiencies, disparities, and weaknesses of our healthcare system. It’s due in large part to these inefficiencies and disparities that there has been an increase in the attention paid to what goes on inside America’s medical facilities. The article discusses these eight healthcare trends to watch out for this year:

  1. Transitioning from a system of measurement to a system of action

Because healthcare systems are always evolving, there will be different ways of providing patients with the best care moving forward. Instead of measuring patient care by the number of patients that are being cared for, the gears have shifted towards measuring patient care by the actual care being provided to them. People have realized that in many cases, actions speak louder than words. When a healthcare provider goes out of their way to understand a patients’ concerns, as well as get to know them on a more personal level, that speaks volumes. It shows the patient that the provider cares about them, and their health, as a person rather than just a number.

  1. Leveraging electronic medical records with experience management

Communication is extremely important when developing relationships with patients. Many healthcare facilities have begun issuing surveys to their patients to obtain feedback regarding the care they received. This is a great way to measure how they’re doing and to identify the areas in which improvements are needed. And the survey results can be added to the patient’s record, which can help to provide the patient with a better experience in the future.

  1. Tapping into the digital revolution

The American healthcare system was greatly affected by the Coronavirus epidemic, leading to significant changes in the way we provide and receive medical care. Doctors had to find a way to provide patient care virtually when it wasn’t safe to go into the office. Virtual visits and telemedicine appointments became an effective way for doctors to see more patients in less time, and most importantly, safely. It also enables providers to be more accessible, communicating with patients electronically through the online portals many began using this past year.

  1. Focusing on resilience and retention

For those in the medical profession, 2020 was one of the most difficult years to date. And now more than ever, in order to guarantee that medical providers are well-engaged, they need to be supported. Health systems must provide their employees with the resources they need to be focused, engaged, and aware. Employees need to feel safe and they want to know that they’re being heard and supported. If health systems show they care about and support their employees, then the employees will be able to pass along that care and support to their patients.

  1. Diversity, equity, inclusion

Having a diverse workforce is extremely important, especially in the medical field. Working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds enables teams to share thoughts, create new ideas, and develop innovative solutions to a range of medical conditions, thanks to perspectives they otherwise wouldn’t have. A diverse workforce drives change, increases awareness and education, and brings new values and understanding to critical decisions.

  1. Building trust

Healthcare providers must build trust with their patients. There are many various reasons why people go to hospitals, medical centers, or doctor’s offices. But one thing remains the same in any case: when a patient is in a time of need, that patient needs to feel safe, trusted, and cared for. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large amount of misinformation was spread, causing many people to panic and question what they were told. Healthcare providers must develop a trusting relationship with their patients in order to ensure that the information they provide is trusted by their patients.

  1. Measuring the ROI of NPS

If a patient endures a poor experience, there will be consequences. Patient experiences have a huge impact on safety, referrals, revenue, and the credibility of the facility – and negative experiences will indicate negative results. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to measure patient loyalty as well as the potential for them to recommend the facility to others. Fostering a positive work environment leads to better NPS scores and is reflected in the care that is provided to patients.

  1. Investing in Experience Management culture, competencies, and technology

Experience Management is a great way for organizations to improve experiences involving customers, vendors, suppliers, employees, and shareholders. To ensure maximum satisfaction, tracking experiences will be helpful when determining what works and what doesn’t. And investing in a facility’s culture, support, and resources will aid in the future success of both the facility, and the patients it serves.

Why Medical Indicators’ Single-Use Thermometers Are Made in the USA

At Medical Indicators, we’ve been manufacturing all of our clinically-accurate, single-use thermometers in the US since our inception, more than 35 years ago. Our headquarters, located in Hamilton, New Jersey, is home to our corporate offices, laboratories, quality control center, production facilities and shipping & distribution center. We’re proud to be an American-made company and we’ve found that our customers, both in and outside of the US, appreciate the fact that we provide quality, American-made thermometers.

Most products these days, including thermometers, are not made in the US. Pick up an item at the store and you’ll most likely find “Made in China” instead of “Made in America” on the label. While that may be the new norm for other companies, at Medical Indicators, we have found that American manufacturing offers many benefits, to both our company and our customers. These benefits include the production of higher quality products, faster production and delivery times, competitive prices and more jobs for Americans.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Robert Witonsky founded Medical Indicators because as a doctor himself, he saw the need for a thermometer that provides accurate temperature readings, while also preventing patients and healthcare providers from exposure to infections. We began with our NexTemp® thermometers, and over the years, we’ve worked to increase production capabilities and expand our product offerings to meet the needs of our growing customer base. Our product portfolio now includes our NexTemp®, NexTemp® Ultra, TempaDOT® and TraxIt® line of thermometers.

Our continued growth and success has enabled us to expanded our reach throughout the US and Canada, as well as more than 30 international marketplaces around the world with distribution channels in Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australia and Central and South America. We attribute many of our successes to our foundation in American manufacturing, and we’re proud that we’ve become a global leader in the single-use medical device arena, supplying our thermometers to hospitals, clinics, businesses, schools and families around the world.

The Manufacturing Process at Medical Indicators

Check out the below video for an inside look at Medical Indicators’ manufacturing process! The video was filmed during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, and highlights our dedicated employees who rose to the occasion to provide customers with the high-quality products they needed, as quickly as possible. We worked around the clock to increase production capabilities and streamline processes, producing four times the number of thermometers as in years past.

All of Medical Indicators’ thermometers are manufactured at our corporate headquarters located in Hamilton, New Jersey. Our production facility is FDA-registered and ISO-certified, and we manufacture every product in our controlled production room. Safety is paramount at Medical Indicators, and we take pride in the fact that all of our thermometers are non-hazardous, non-toxic, and latex, glass and mercury-free. They are FDA-registered, meet all ASTM standards of accuracy, and are CE-certified meeting all European standards for health, safety, and environmental protection. Biocompatibility tests are conducted to confirm the safety of our thermometers and to ensure that we meet or exceed even the highest domestic and international safety and quality control standards.

We manufacture our products in the US because it allows for many benefits, including the production of higher quality products, faster production and delivery times, competitive pricing and more jobs for Americans. We’re proud to be an American-made company and we’ve found that our customers, both in and outside of the US, appreciate the fact that we provide high-quality, American-made thermometers.

Medical Indicators Named One of the ‘20 Innovative Companies Everyone Should Know in 2021’ by Global Business Leaders Magazine

Medical Indicators, Inc., the largest manufacturer of clinically-accurate single-use thermometers in the world, was recently named one of Global Business Leaders Magazine’s 20 Innovative Companies Everyone Should Know in 2021. The annual list highlights businesses from around the world with a clear vision and keen interest in making the world a better place in unique ways.

The 2-page feature includes a Q&A with Medical Indicators’ CEO, Joel Welde, in which he discusses the journey the company has taken over the past four decades. “Since day one, Medical Indicators has been innovating – not only in what we create, but how we create it,” said Welde. “We’ve developed a line of American-made single-use thermometers that not only provide the most accurate temperature reading available on the market today, but one that also significantly reduces the risk of spreading infections.”

Medical Indicators was founded in the early 1980’s, and since then, has increased production capabilities and expanded its product offerings to meet the needs of its growing customer base. “Our continued growth and success have enabled Medical Indicators to become a global leader in the single-use medical device arena,” said Welde. “We now supply hospitals, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and teaching institutions in more than 30 countries around the world with our single-use thermometers that offer highly accurate readings and maximum infection control.”

Medical Indicators’ thermometers, including NexTemp®, NexTemp® Ultra, TempaDOT®, and TraxIt®, feature an innovative and proprietary chemistry system that utilizes heat-sensitive crystals to measure core body temperature. It’s through this chemistry system that Medical Indicators’ thermometers are able to provide clinically-accurate readings. And their disposability means that once a temperature is taken, the thermometer and all of the germs are discarded along with it – virtually eliminating the risk of spreading germs and illnesses.

Taiwan Bans the Use of Infrared Thermometers as COVID Cases Surge Around the World

Although many in the US are fully vaccinated and have seemingly put the pandemic in the past, COVID-19 numbers are steadily rising for the first time in months. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the US is grappling with a renewed surge of cases in what many are calling the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Health experts also attribute the increase to relaxed restrictions on gatherings and mask mandates, as well as a rise in the highly contagious Delta variant.

The increase in COVID cases is not an isolated issue here in America. Numbers are also rising around the world with hot spots in Israel, Cuba, Spain, Japan, and the UK. Due to the rise in cases, many countries are tightening restrictions and cracking down on ineffective tools used to detect and treat the virus, namely thermometers.

According to an article in the Taiwan Times, “companies that sell thermometers that measure skin temperature and claim they can detect fever are breaking the law and would face fines of up to $892,953 (USD), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week.” Instead, officials recommend using government-approved thermometers, such as oral, axillary, and rectal thermometers.

Infrared and thermo-scanners are only allowed to be used as a reference because the devices are not approved for medical use. Taiwan FDA Medical Devices & Cosmetics Division Specialist, Lin Hsin-hui, stated that “…temperature is easily affected by peripheral circulation or the environment, and varies significantly from true body temperature.” Hsin-hui adds that there are no clinical trials proving that skin temperature is a valid way to determine if someone does or does not have a fever.

As of July 12, 2021, importing, manufacturing, or selling such devices for medical purposes is illegal in Taiwan. Those who choose to ignore the new regulation could face up to three years in jail and fines close to $900,000 (USD). Additionally, companies and individuals claiming that infrareds and other similar devices can be used to check for a fever can be fined $20,000-$900,000 (USD).

The article ends by stating that people who contract COVID-19 develop a fever in the initial stages of the infection, so the Taiwan FDA is urging people to monitor their temperature regularly with a thermometer approved for medical use.

While infrared and thermal imaging devices are not an accurate way to take a temperature, all of Medical Indicators’ thermometers are. Our thermometers are specifically designed for oral, axillary, and rectal use, providing an accurate core body temperature reading each and every time. And their disposability means that once a temperature is taken, you simply discard the thermometer and all of the germs along with it – virtually eliminating the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Learn more about our highly accurate, single-use thermometers and how they can help you today.

Infrared Thermometers and Their Inability to Fight Against COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, infrared thermometers have become a popular way to take temperature screenings in high-volume areas. Many businesses, including restaurants, stores, movie theaters and even companies and their corporate office locations, use them as a way to test for a fever in hopes of limiting their exposure to COVID-19. While infrared thermometers may be easy to use, they have unfortunately proven to be wildly inaccurate. Johns Hopkins Medicine issued an article titled Physicians Say Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers Fall Short As COVID-19 Screeners, which explains why these thermometers cannot be used as a trusted source.

Infrared thermometers only measure a person’s skin temperature, rather than measuring core body temperature – which is the key indicator of an infection. External factors, including the weather, the temperature of a room, an individual’s recent physical activity and other environmental variables, will affect the accuracy of the thermometer and the readings they provide. Because these factors can affect the results when using infrared thermometers, it creates a range of possible temperatures leaving a large margin for error. In the study, Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that during the course of a fever infrared thermometers can give misleading readings, so they should not be used as a trusted source to accurately determine if someone does or does not have a temperature.

The report states that more than 46,000 travelers were screened in 2020 with non-contact infrared thermometers and only one person was identified as having COVID-19. In addition to that, approximately 766,000 travelers were screened during January 17th-September 13th, and only one person per 85,000 later tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, 47 out of 278 people with symptoms similar to COVID-19 had a measured temperature meeting the CDC criteria for fever. They explain that this data shows that non-contact infrared thermometers fall short as a screening test for COVID-19.

Although infrared thermometers provide a convenient way to take someone else’s temperature, the many concerns about inaccurate readings are worrisome. These devices could not detect a person’s fever when they do in fact have one, resulting in that person potentially exposing others to their illness. Conversely, these devices can also report a temperature when the person doesn’t actually have one, leading to unnecessary worry, doctors’ visits and an abrupt change in plans.

Especially in light of recent events, it’s imperative that consumers are able to trust the products they use. Medical Indicators’ thermometers not only provide the most accurate temperature reading available on the market today, but their disposability means that once a temperature is taken, you simply throw it away along with all of the germs – and any worry over spreading an infection!

What is Precision Phase Change Technology and How Does It Provide Highly-Accurate Temperature Readings?

All of Medical Indicators’ thermometers, including NexTemp®, NexTemp® Ultra, TraxIt®, and Tempa•DOT®, feature an innovative and proprietary chemistry system known as Precision Phase Change Technology. Our thermometers feature a handle on one end, and a dot matrix utilizing the Precision Phase Change Technology on the other. We use this technology in our thermometers in one of two ways: through either our NexTemp Liquid Crystal Technology™ or TempaDOT®’s Solid Crystal Technology. The NexTemp Liquid Crystal Technology™ is used in our NexTemp® and TraxIt® line of thermometers, while our TempaDOT® thermometers utilize the Solid Crystal Technology.

In both cases, the dot matrix is comprised of heat-sensitive crystals that contain a unique formulation of chemistry to measure and display core body temperature. The chemistry is designed to react, or change color, at a specific temperature point. Each dot has been custom formulated to react and change color at its precise temperature point that is accurate to ±0.2 ºF/±0.1 ºC – which is the highest level of accuracy attainable in any thermometer on the market today. The number of dots that fire is dependent upon a patient’s temperature. The last dot to fire, or change color, will provide the highly-accurate reading. For NexTemp®, NexTemp® Ultra, and TraxIt® thermometers when the dots fire, they will change color from green to black; and with TempaDOT® thermometers the colors will change from tan to blue.

Precision Phase Change Technology is a remarkable innovation that allows Medical Indicators’ thermometers to provide users with peace of mind knowing they are safe, reliable and accurate. To further ensure their accuracy and reliability, each thermometer undergoes two-stage precision accuracy testing throughout the manufacturing process that meets rigorous accuracy and quality control standards. We utilize calibrated precision water baths to confirm their accuracy and reliability, and to ensure we meet the requirements of both nationally and internationally-recognized testing standards.

The Importance of Providing Patients with a Great Experience

A positive customer experience is essential to the success of any business, but especially in healthcare settings. Of course patients want the best possible care, but they also want to feel seen, heard and understood. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the patient experience will likely change this year. Conditions are improving thanks to social distancing, wearing masks and increased vaccinations; but the pandemic has led to the public paying closer attention to the cleanliness and safety of facilities in general, especially hospitals and medical centers. And with the advent of social media and billions of people around the world sharing every aspect of their lives with friends, family and even strangers, if a facility isn’t taking the proper precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients, there’s a very good chance that information will be shared far and wide.

Social media has become an integral part of everyday life, connecting people and bringing them together even when they’re miles apart. Many people like to share their daily experiences on social media, connecting them with others who have had similar and/or different experiences. An individual may post about how they were unhappy with the care they received at a certain hospital, which in turn could lead to dozens or even hundreds of others supporting their claim of subpar care. Social media has greatly impacted our society and the way we do things. People often jump to Facebook to ask their friends and family for recommendations on a variety of matters because they trust their opinions. And it could take just one negative review from a trusted friend to prevent others from going to that facility or healthcare provider. Furthermore, if they post the reviews to the facility’s social media pages, anyone visiting their page to do research will see these negative reviews, which might make them think twice before going there. Hospitals and medical centers need to work to provide the best patient experience possible to ensure that their patients will be happy with the care they are receiving.

Some things that healthcare providers must consider when providing care to their patients, include:

  • Professionalism
  • Actively listening to patients and their concerns
  • Validating patient’s feelings
  • Supporting patients/showing them you care
  • Communicating with them, sit down with them and get to know them

When a healthcare provider goes above and beyond for their patients, it makes the patient feel as though they’re actually being heard and cared for. This is crucial in developing positive and long-lasting relationships with patients. Providing patients with the best experience possible is critical, now more than ever. While providing the best medical care is important, building relationships and listening to patient concerns is just as important to ensuring patient satisfaction.

LinkedIn Live with Maness Veteran Medical

Medical Indicators’ SVP of Sales & Business Development, Maurice Donnelly, and MII’s Marketing Manager, Kelly O’Malley, sat down with Johnathan Maness, Founder & CEO of Maness Veteran Medical, earlier this week to discuss our line of innovative, single-use thermometers and how they provide highly accurate readings while also preventing the spread of infections. Maness Veteran Medical is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business working to connect federal buyers with the manufacturers of high-quality, cutting-edge healthcare and medical device supplies.

Earlier this year, Medical Indicators began partnering with Johnathan and his dedicated team to bring our line of clinically-accurate, disposable thermometers to America’s veterans and VA hospitals, the U.S. Department of Defense, and our active military service members. Be sure to watch the full video below, and please contact us for additional information or to answer any questions you may have on how our single-use thermometers can help you and your team today!

What Are Healthcare-Associated Infections and What Can Hospital Systems Do to Prevent Them?

According to the CDC, in any given day, one in 31 hospital patients will contract at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients acquire in a clinical setting, while receiving medical care for another condition. HAIs most commonly transfer from one patient to another because the medical tools used on the first patient were not properly sanitized and disinfected before being used on a second patient. Several critical steps must be taken when working with medical devices, especially reusable devices that are used on multiple patients, in order to prevent the spread of HAIs.

In addition to risking a patient’s health and well-being, hospitals will face severe penalties if they expose patients to hospital-acquired conditions. In 2017, more than 22% of hospitals that were evaluated were penalized by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services because patients developed an HAI at their facility. OBP Medical released an article titled Updates on Medicare Penalties for Hospital-Acquired Conditions explaining the types of infections that are commonly spread in hospitals (e.g., C. diff, pneumonia, MRSA), as well as the penalties associated with such HAIs. When working in this type of environment, it is imperative that every step is taken in order to ensure that patients receive the best and safest care possible.

Staff must sterilize and disinfect all reusable medical devices after each use to aid in the prevention of infection transfer. Although proper cleaning can help, there is an even better way to prevent the spread of HAIs. In lieu of cleaning and disinfecting reusable medical instruments, healthcare facilities can make the switch to disposable medical devices instead. Single-patient medical devices virtually eliminate the spread of healthcare-associated infections because they are used one time, with one patient, and then the device is discarded. They will only reduce the risk if used correctly, so it is crucial that they are used exactly as directed – meaning that it should be used only once, with only one patient, and then discarded immediately after use. Disposable medical devices can aid in making hospitals a safer place for patients, while also eliminating the risk for HAI-related penalties.

There are certain devices, such as disposable thermometers, that can be extremely helpful when it comes to preventing healthcare-associated infections. Medical Indicators understands how important it is for doctors, nurses and patients to use a product that is both safe and accurate. Medical Indicators’ disposable thermometers, including NexTemp®, Tempa•DOT®, and TraxIt®,  provide highly-accurate readings, while also eliminating the risk of exposure to healthcare-associated infections.