Double Press to Protect: How Jefferson Health is Revolutionizing Staff Safety

Ensuring the safety of healthcare workers is a pressing concern that can sometimes go unnoticed. Stories like that of Denise Shapiro and Michelle Lewandowski, registered nurses (RNs) at Jefferson University Hospital, shed light on a stark reality: Healthcare workers face a growing risk of violence and unexpected danger in their line of duty.

The chilling statistics reveal that more than 30% of nurses experienced physical assault in the past year alone. With the increasing behavioral health and drug-related issues patients present with, it is more vital than ever that our frontline healthcare heroes are equipped with the best tools to ensure their safety.

Commure Strongline is an award-winning solution that’s revolutionizing the way we approach this challenge. By seamlessly integrating into the hospital environment, this innovative system provides an immediate, discreet line of defense, allowing healthcare workers to summon help at the touch of a button.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to discover how Jefferson Health, a 14-hospital system, leveraged Commure Strongline to enhance staff safety, boost confidence, and ensure peace of mind for over 25,000 patient-facing employees.

Keeping Staff Safe at Jefferson Health: Video Transcript

Denise Sharpiro, RN – Nurse Manager, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital: “You don’t go to work to think that you’re gonna get beat up. That’s not what we want.”

Text: More than 30% of nurses experienced unwanted physical contact or assault in the past year alone, and more than 60% experienced verbal abuse.

Michelle Lewandowski, RN, BSN – Nurse Manager, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital: “Suddenly this individual, she became combative, started to throw objects at us. In a split second, their behaviors can change — and we need help.”

Text: Healthcare workers are four times more likely to be victimized than private industry workers.

Joseph Byham, VP of Public Safety, Security, Jefferson Health: “Across the country, violence in the workplace and healthcare is on the rise, and we have to start getting a handle on that.”

Text: More than 13% of days away from work in the health care sector are the result of violence.

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA – President, Thomas Jefferson University, CEO Jefferson Health: “Given the rise of behavioral health issues, given the rise of drug issues, our nurses are constantly being threatened.”

Byham: “Strongline certainly has increased our staff satisfaction in their safety. They feel they’re safer when they have a direct line to security, and statistically we’re seeing they are safer.”

Narrator: “Strongline is a simple, subtle, highly effective way for staff to instantly summon assistance to their specific location. But duress events are dynamic, so if an alert originates in one location and then moves, the Strongline system transmits real-time location updates along with the identity of the alerting staff member.

Strongline’s Bluetooth safety beacon is typically worn with the hospital ID badge.
Staff members simply press a discreet button, transmitting a silent duress notification to security personnel as well as other staff in proximity. These instant alerts to nearby colleagues enable rapid response, facilitating early intervention and increasing the likelihood of effectively de-escalating a conflict, even before security personnel arrive.”

Byham: “We found that to be a tremendous help — a lot of the existing applications that are out there do not have that ability.”

Lewandowski: “This device has helped us to alert security a lot sooner than we would have been able to do in the past. As soon as this situation starts to escalate, we can quietly press our button. Prior to our use of the Strongline system, I didn’t feel very confident that I would get help if I needed it. We did have a panic alarm, but we had to leave the patient room and go to the nursing station to pull the alarm.”

Byham: “It’s hard to get away from something that’s happening in a room where you need help right away. When we’re able to give them an application such as Strongline, that’s their lifeline.”

Katherine McNeill, Senior Director Program Management – Office of the CIO Information Services and Technology, Jefferson Health: “The Strongline team’s response to service technology requirements has been outstanding.”

Robin Sheldon, SVP Jefferson Strategic Ventures, Jefferson Health: “And it is system as a service, so it’s all in one. It requires actually, you know, very little from us.”

McNeill: “It was an easy-to-implement technology. The receivers can go anywhere in our clinical environment as long as there’s access to power and WiFi. We’ve done testing and discovered that there really is no interference between that Bluetooth technology and other equipment within the clinical environment, and the equipment is consistent, reliable, and easy to support. And that’s really important, because when we’re talking about staff safety, we need that system to be accessible 24/7.”

Shapiro: “We recently had an incident where a patient became very agitated. He was ready to hit a staff member. The buttons were pushed, security came up right away, and we were able to de-escalate the situation. There was no harm to staff or patient.”

Lewandowski: “This is something that’s really important and it’s something that’s needed. And as the population and healthcare changes, I think that we’re gonna need it even more in the future.”

Klasko: “So we just said this is one where we’re going all in, and and we’re gonna do this for our entire 14-hospital system — and it’s been widely, widely, widely applauded by the staff.”

Text: Due to the success of the system among clinical staff and security, Jefferson Health elected to deploy Strongline across the enterprise and is on track to provide badges for more than 25,000 patient-facing employees.

Klasko: “My message to most other CEOs: Embrace the future. Protect your nurses differently. And here’s an opportunity to do it, do it easy, do it as a one-stop shop, relatively inexpensively and you will be rewarded by having a loyal nursing staff. This is the way for embracing technology, doing the right thing, and doing it in a way that, frankly, will have a huge ROI. It’s exactly the kind of thing that needs to happen as your healthcare system moves into the future.”

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September 21, 2022