Orange Park Medical Center Surgical Waiting Room Goes Hi-tech
March 19, 2010
Matching recent investments in state-of-the-art operating room technology, such as robotic surgery and minimally invasive techniques to detect lung cancer earlier, Orange Park Medical Center has installed a hi-tech patient tracking system in its surgery waiting room. The main feature of the “OR Tracker” system is a large, flat screen monitor that continually updates friends and family members about the progress of their loved one through the surgical process.
The roughly $16,000 investment in the OR Tracker was made to improve the experience for folks waiting on their loved ones in surgery. “It’s a very stressful time for them, and they are anxious to know what is taking place,” says Diane Carlson, RN, MSN, Director of Surgical Services. “The person caring for the patient cannot always communicate one-on-one with the family, because they are busy providing the care to the patient. So the tracker system gives the family the communication they want about where their loved one is at all times.”
All patients preparing for surgery, in surgery, recovering from surgery, moved to a hospital room or discharged are tracked in the system. Their identity is indicated by first letter of their first name plus the first three letters of their last name. Their status, along with the procedure they are having, is indicated on the waiting room screen. The display is automatically updated as it is being documented in the hospital’s electronic documentation system.
Those waiting for information about their loved ones in surgery say the system is, “very helpful,” “comforting,” and alleviates the anxiety of “waiting for someone to tell me what’s going on.”
Since the OR Tracker provides on time communication to family and friends, it can also reduce the number of interruptions caregivers have in providing care. Family members need not call back to the operating room or recovery room for updates.
There’s a patient safety feature to the system as well. Companion, electronic display monitors have been installed in patient care areas and are only seen by staff. The display on these monitors will flag similar patient names, such as Donna Carlson and Diane Carlson. This flagging feature is one more way caregivers make sure the right patient is in the right operating room having the right procedure.