Bye-bye dry erase board!

November 16, 2008 4:41:48 AM PST
Electronics have brought revolutionary changes to medicine. And one of the latest is in how patients are tracked in the emergency department.

The monitor in the emergency department squawks, "We have a female involved in a motor vehicle collision."

It's an emergency -

An accident victim is due to arrive at Vanderbilt University Medical Center by helicopter.

"On a ventilator, multiple trauma and low blood pressure. That's basically all we know right now, " says a new message.

In the ER, Treatment has to be quick.

Brenda Smith, R.N., the charge nurse, remarks, "There is red flag on the flow board to let us know that there are orders that have not been processed."

Smith tracks it all on a one-of-a-kind electronic whiteboard system, that combines a dozen electronic systems in the medical center.

She says, "We will get our lab results and our x-ray results available on this computer screen without ever having to physically interact with someone in radiology or the laboratory."

Just a few years ago, the E-R at Vanderbilt used the typical dry-erase board.

Dominik Aronsky, Ph.D., says "Everybody has to come to that place, and also, the moment you erase the information, it is gone forever."

The new system centers around a large touch-sensitive plasma screen, located across from the doctors' work station.

The same patient information is also available on every computer screen in the department.

The board even shows when a room needs to be cleaned, and when that job is done.

The system has several levels of information, with secure log-ins, designed to protect patients.

And color coding alerts the staff to problems.

Dr. Corey Slovis says, "We know it a patient has an abnormal lab value that is something that we need to look at."

The new E-board helps this team give better treatment faster.

Dr. Slovis says, "It's phenomenal how much more quick it is than it was before."

Vanderbilt doctors believe their board could become a model for hospitals around the country.


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