Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation

Department of Emergency Medicine

 

October 12, 2000

TO:†††††††††††††††††††† Walter Rosenzweig, President

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Micro Master Corporation

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 25 Branwood Court

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dix Hills, NY 11746

 

FROM:††††††††††††† Joseph S. Guarisco, MD

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine

 

RE:†††††††††††††††††††† PATIENT TRACKING

 

 

The Department of Emergency Medicine has been live with electronic Patient Tracking for nearly seven months now.† I would have to say that Patient Tracking and electronic physicians notes have been the two most significant advancements that this department has made on the operational side when we consider information management systems alone or when compared to any of the other operational improvements we have made through the years.† Our original plan was to have a multi-week training program to educate all users on the functionality of the system.† However, it was clear within the first hour of implementation that the system was so intuitive an extended training period would not be needed.† In fact, our immediate concern was keeping pace with the users and making sure that the functionality actually met their needs rather than teaching them how to use the system.† The department has never looked back and the electronic grease board has been up and running flawlessly since implementation.

 

Patient Tracking is loaded on 20+ PCs within the department and allows physicians and nurses remote to the main control desk to know exactly what is occurring in the department in terms of which patients need to be seen, who is responsible for those patients, and the status of various tasks and procedures such as x-ray and laboratory.† No longer is it necessary to go from one end of the department to the other to view the old grease board.† Efficiency has been greatly improved.† Additionally, management can view the waiting room from any PC, including those in their offices, which allows real-time knowledge as to patient volumes, flow and bottlenecks.† In other words, an overview of the demands of the department is immediately available.† The system has been a tremendous improvement operationally for our management team.

 

The functionality of the system allows online unit managers during any given shift to know exactly when a patient has registered and is available to be placed in a room.† The physicians and nurses then immediately know when a patient has been placed in a room so that the task of care can be initiated.† Furthermore, when patients are discharged, the knowledge of the discharge is immediately displayed throughout the department so that new patients can be placed in those rooms.† This means that downtime between discharges and new patients is minimal.

 

Another critical aspect of Patient Tracking functionality is the ability to set alarms for various tasks and procedures which, by using color indicators, alert all users, including managers, that there is a delay in any specific process, such as time to see a nurse, time to see a physician, waiting times, lab, x-ray and special procedure processes, etc.† The user, with one glance at the tracking screen, can immediately notice any bottlenecks involving specific processes and personnel.† These processes and personnel shortages can be immediately addressed.† The old manual grease board allowed none of this in real time. Finally, all of this data is used to create a timeline progress report of all the interventions and interactions regarding a particular patient, allowing the user to view the time-stamped events and personnel encounters throughout the patientís stay in the ED.† The department managers can view this data in a cumulative format allowing a global view of department efficiency and productivity.

 

Patient Tracking without a doubt has become a critical and indispensable operational tool for our department.† We love it so much that we are putting the system in the ICU and critical areas in our hospital.

 

JSG/jh