Helps Patients How High Tech In the Spotlight
T here’s no doubt that technology is changing the face of healthcare for the better. In Uganda, cell phones and texting are helping the Ministry of Health to coordinate care between rural clinics and track disease outbreaks. Dr. John Halamka, the chief information officer for Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston and a toxicologist spe- cializing in mushroom poisoning, uses his smart phone for consultations, to view and identify species in question. A University of Chicago study found that patients cared for by iPad-equipped residents got tests and treatments faster and also gained a better under- standing of their conditions because they could be shown results of their X-rays and scans. Closer to home, NCH Healthcare System was selected one of the “2012 Most Wired” hospital systems by HH&N magazine, the flagship pub- lication of the American Hospital Association, because of its use of technology to better patient outcomes and experiences.
As a “wired” hospital, NCH uses technology to monitor patients’ health—and also to provide a more pleasant experience.
The television screen doubles as a means to provide educa- tional information to the patient about his/her medical problem and also to identify every healthcare worker who enters. A separate screen at the head of the bed alerts the healthcare workers—from nurses to housekeeping—as to any specific needs of the patient. The eventual goal, Thompson says, is to broaden the tech- nological web to allow patients to have personal and secure access to their own health records, to be able to wirelessly communicate with physicians, to pay bills online and to request prescription refills. The next step is connecting NCH records with other health providers in the community to aid in tracking health trends throughout the county. The triple aim, according to HH&N , is to use technology to improve patient care, better population health and lower costs.
“From the patient’s perspective, [our being ‘wired’] means their information travels with them as they move through the healthcare system,” Helen Thompson, Chief Information Officer for NCH, explains. “It’s about connecting all the data to ensure each physician has a complete picture to look at.” It’s not just physicians who have patient data readily avail- able. Nurses and pharmacists at the hospitals do, too, which means that potentially dangerous drug interactions or the administering of the wrong medication to the wrong patient can be avoided. “At North Naples Hospital, you can see probably the latest and greatest in patient room technology,” Thompson adds. “Our ‘smart’ rooms are set up to provide patient entertainment and education.”
Naples Health | JANUARY-MARCH 2013
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