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Paper-Based Medical Chart Receives Digital Makeover

Wednesday December 8, 2010
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Nurses and other caregivers in EDs and child trauma units may be familiar with the Broselow Pediatric Emergency Tape, a paper-based medical chart that is undergoing an electronic update.

In its traditional form, the Broselow Tape is a long, durable tape measure used on a child during a medical emergency. It features a color-coded format that allows caregivers to see specific instructions, such as the amount of medicines to dispense or the level of shock voltage to give from a defibrillator, based on the height and weight of the child.

Now, all personnel will be able to view the information on a large LCD monitor within the emergency room. The innovation is a result of a collaborative effort between the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, the Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital in Roanoke and James Broselow, MD, the physician who created the original method in the mid-1980s.

New information on display will include medicines administered to the patient, including the time of administration and the next scheduled dose. If a patient is suffering from burns, caregivers will be able to view automated calculations of the affected surface and fluid resuscitation. They will be able to move from one screen to another by clicking a mouse or remote control.

Emergency medical personnel still will rely on the laminated tape to determine the child’s care-need level, then use the digital version to display the information.

Medical personnel provided input for many of the new features, such as the ability to use barcode scanning to track the exact types and amounts of medicine administered to patients.

The new technology represents the digital update of a chart for children ages 12 and younger who weigh approximately 80 pounds or less. Broselow and his technology company continue to work on digital formats for EDs of all types, including iPhone applications.

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