Crouse Hospital has installed a new, high-tech patient tracking system in its Witting Surgical Center family waiting area. The GE Healthcare technology provides families with real-time patient status updates as their loved one moves through the surgical process, giving a virtual view on a flat-screen monitor in the family waiting area.
Each surgical patient has a unique ID number assigned to him or her, which is made available only to family members or whomever else the patient authorizes. As the patient moves through the surgical process, status updates – each clearly labeled with the patient’s identifying number – appear on a waiting room flat-screen monitor in colored bubbles.
The bubbles are color coded and denote various stages of the surgical process: patient is in the pre-operative area (red); patient has arrived in the OR (blue); surgery has started (green); surgery has been completed and patient is in the recovery area (pink); patient has left recovery and has been moved to a nursing unit).
“We’re excited to be able to offer this secure technology to family members of our surgical patients,” says Jill Hauswirth, RN, director of surgical services for Crouse Hospital. “Providing the best patient care depends on effective, timely communication, not just with patients but also with their family members. By providing the ability to receive ‘real-time’ surgical status updates, we believe this will advance the overall communication and educational process for patients and their family.”
Patient status updates are entered into the system by operating room staff in real time and are also displayed in the OR for clinical staff to monitor. Information desk volunteers and staff of the hospital’s Patient and Guest Relations department also have access to the patient status updates.
A recent article in InformationWeek Healthcare magazine highlighted the growing use of patient tracking technology to improve efficiency and patient flow. “We see a tremendous opportunity to improve operational performance as well as patient engagement through tools like this,” states Hauswirth, who adds that a significant benefit of the system is its ability to improve the efficiency of patient flow throughout the entire hospital.