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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

May 29 2011   10:40PM GMT

Hospital interactive boards and the tremendous benefits they offer

Posted by: RedaChouffani
bed management, integration, interactive displays, patient tracking, whiteboard

Many healthcare organizations are continuously trying to identify new ways to realize and create efficiencies through technology. One area that seems to be gaining popularity is the use of interactive displays or “boards” throughout the different hospital departments.

Over the years we have seen hospitals evolve from using blackboards to dry erase, and not too long after that, a digital display replaced all of the above. And in recent year,s more interactive electronic displays have surfaced and have successfully helped numerous hospitals realize costs savings and improved efficiencies.

Whiteboards have been used in many different areas of a hospital and are being replaced with digital displays. The new technology has been called different things such as surgery boards, electronic inpatient tracking boards, patient dashboards, grease boards, bed management dashboards, and many other variations. Some of the areas where these devices are being used are:

· The surgical ward. Here, these devices provide a patient’s information, as well as the status of orders and what stage the patient is in within the surgical workflow.

· ER: There is also the ER, which uses the whiteboard to display the wait time, status of orders as well as patient location within the ER.

· Nurses’ stations: We also see the dashboards in the nurses’ stations on the different hospital floors. These displays have more advanced functionality such as their capability to integrate with medical devices and remotely display real-time data about the patient’s oxygen levels, heart rate, and other vital clinical information.

· Environmental services are also utilizing this technology to monitor the status of beds and ensure that beds can be cleaned immediately when they become available.

· We are also seeing an increase use of digital dashboards to display the location of hospital assets.

Historically these devices were nothing more than larger display screens (or giant monitors), but the reality is that many of the newer devices, combined with advanced software functionality seen in the market today, are offering some incredibly useful benefits. Some of the new products seen out there provide the following:

· Increase use of visual indicators to communicate the status of patients and beds through the use of symbols, colors, and animations. A research by 3M concluded that we process visuals 60,00 times faster than text. 


· Dashboards provide a floor plan layout of the hospital ward with alerts and statuses directly pinned to the location when the patient is.


· More vendors are providing interfacing capabilities to allow a comprehensive view of the patient’s orders (radiology, respitory, lab work, etc), visual and real-time, from one single view.



· Vendors are also adding capabilities to integrate with RTLS (Real Time Tracking Location System) to provide asset and resource locations directly on the displays.



There is no argument that interactive boards will replace the traditional static displays. They provide a strong value proposition when they are combined with a software solution that can integrate and communicate with different entities within the hospital’s infrastructure. These systems are able to communicate with everything from the HIS, RIS, PHR, to medical devices and bedside monitors, in addition to having the ability to display stats and proactive notifications based on predefined workflows, which will ensure everyone is well informed.

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