May 13th, 2014
I recently had a personal experience that exemplified the importance of automatically-generated and automatically-collected data in healthcare. Last week, I accompanied a loved one to a surgical procedure. When we checked in, I was handed a card with a number on it; the number indicated him in a de-identified way. Along with the number there was a legend that identified the stages he would be going through. The legend was color coded and indicated the following milestones: Pre-Op, Intra-Op, In Surgery, Surgery Ending/Closing, Post Op, and Recovery. In the waiting room was a large view screen with his number in the corresponding color to his current milestone.
As a concerned loved one I sat in the waiting room gazing up at the screen so that I could track his progress along his surgical journey, anxiously awaiting him to move to the next stage. About 45 minutes after the screen listed him as “in surgery,” I decided I needed a soda and was going to walk to the gas station next door to get one. I figured I was safe as he had only been listed as “in surgery” for a fraction of the time that the surgeon said the surgery would take. He also had to go through the “closing/ending” milestone as well as the “Post Op” milestone before I could I join him in recovery. So I was off to get my soda, confident I would be back in plenty of time.
As I was walking out the door of the clinic however, a nurse caught me and said- “Marnie?” “He’s in recovery and ready to see you.”
Um…what? “But your view board said he was still in surgery,” I replied.
She responded by giggling and saying, “We get so busy we don’t have time to get in to the system and keep that view board up to date. We try, but taking care of our patients is our first priority.”
Since I have been a clinician, I’ve been in her shoes, and I know exactly what she means. We put our patients first, and often that means we don’t have time for anything else, including keeping patients’ families up-to-date with what is going on with their loved ones.
That’s why I am super excited that more and more healthcare organizations take advantage of technologies that simplify the communication process between the patient, care providers, and patient’s family.
The solution that we developed at Intelligent InSites automatically monitors patients’ movements, providing a real-time view of what is happening with the patient at every stage of the care delivery process. The patient’s family and friends are now able to receive automated and customized status updates to their mobile phones, message boards in the waiting rooms, and to the communication devices given to them at the patient check-in.
So today, regardless if you are waiting in a family room or you are on your way to grab a soda, you can stay in the know!