1. Devore, Shelly RN, MSN
  2. Berrong, Barbi RN, MSN
  3. Clark, Ginny RN, MSN

Article Content

Background: Progress West HealthCare Center (PWHC), a recently opened (February 2007) 72-bed green field hospital, is a member of the BJC HealthCare System in St. Louis, Missouri. Plans made to open the facility emphasized leveraging the use of technology to design and implement patient- and family-centered processes that were safe, efficient, and effective.


Program Plan: With the implementation of multiple technologies at PWHC, reliability of software solutions and processes proved critical to success. A key consideration in planning and development was integration of the various technologies with each other and with clinical processes. To facilitate better patient learning and educational opportunities, ceiling-mounted patient touch devices were installed in every room. These devices allowed patients to search and choose education based on their diagnosis. Implementation of radiofrequency identification technology was implemented to support better patient flows. Communication issues were addressed with a hands-free device allowing clinicians and patients to communicate with a touch of the button or a command of the voice. This system was integrated with physiologic monitors and the patient call system. The plan was to facilitate easy computer access without the need to remember multiple passwords through RFID technology. Installation of proximity cards increased efficiency and enabled staff to log in quickly to multiple applications.


Evaluation: Innovative process changes included increased nurse-to-patient ratios, justified by technology providing support in place of departmental, assistive personnel. Pharmacy processes were changed to be interactive at the point of care rather than centralized in the pharmacy. Patient registration processes were streamlined with the use of kiosks and computerized registration.


Impact: Although it is too early to measure outcomes, these are expected:


* Reduced medication errors


* Increased patient satisfaction


* Best in class


* Decreased average response time for call lights


* More clinician-to-patient interaction and time spent by clinician at the bedside.



The interdependence of process and technology at PWHC has brought its own challenges. As PWHC becomes fully operational, we will continue to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of our processes and the underlying technology allowing for better management of patient and staff delays.