Healthwise: Electronic Tracking Board

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

February 3, 2010

The same technology used to track a flight, from take-off to arrival, is now working in waiting rooms at Martha Jefferson Hospital.

"I think it's just something that makes patients feel comfortable; to be able to look up on the board and know that their loved one is fine," said Director of Intensive Care Services, Nancy Maloy.

Doctors use the Surgery Scheduling System to generate a tracking board that follows a patient from the start of surgery to recovery. The board is used daily for scheduled surgeries, emergencies, and add-on cases. However, the system does not use names; you'll only see tracking numbers for patients.

"We give the card to a patient with his identifying number, and if the patient chooses to give it to a family member then they have the identifying number. We don't put patients' names up on the tracking board," said Maloy.

Maloy and her colleagues insist this system enhances interaction rather than replaces old procedures. Family, friends, and loved ones still talk to nurses and surgeons about a patient's prognosis, and a volunteer is in the waiting room to answer any additional questions.

"Often the family will start to get anxious and ask the volunteer to back into the [operating room] and see what they can figure out," said Maloy.

Instead of spending time tracking down a loved one who is in surgery, family and friends can now look up at the Martha Jefferson tracking board and focus on their destination.

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