Friday, 29 July 2011

Digital whiteboards

Touchscreens on the wards that allow access to the 'patient administration system' PAS have been installed in Truro. in fact they've been there for a few weeks but we had a presentation of the system (Swift+ - I can't work out who the actual supplier is) at the lunchtime meeting.

The patients' names are shown - as they would have been on the traditional whiteboard - and the bed they occupy. Other administrative information is displayed such as specialty, consultant, expected date of discharge, and icons representng safety issues like falls, dementia and so on. Any member of staff can update the screens and final responsibility for access and accuracy lies with the nursing shift leader. All changes are made on the PAS and this enables a 'live bed state'. This allows more accurate information for hospital management and also the opportunity to access and update the data from PCs during a handover or a multidisciplinary meeting.

Perhaps it would be better to refer to the bed state as a 'real time bed state' to avoid questions about what the dead bed state might refer to.

We discussed representing shared care on the whiteboards especially in the orthopaedic wards where geriatricians actively manage the hip fracture patients especially. The old whiteboards could be adorned with coloured stickers developing a visual summary unique to the culture of a particular ward. This type of 'user' creativity is something that can be overlooked by IT design if they don't involve the people who will use the tool. Also, I think more attention needs to be given to the utility of the data to the staff that are entering it.

Anyhow, the system looks good and can't wait to try it out. Do you wash your hands before or after using the touchscreens (or both)?

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