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New Ohio Hospital Maximizes Wireless Processes

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A lot of hospitals refer to themselves are “high tech,” but at OhioHealth Inc.’s Dublin Methodist Hospital, they really mean it. A tour of the new facility, which opened Jan. 8, reveals enough state-of-the-art medical equipment to make “Star Trek’s” Dr. McCoy envious.

Lamont Yoder, RN, MBA, CNAA, FACHE

“We consider ourselves digital, wireless and paperless to the maximum extent possible,” says Lamont Yoder, RN, MBA, CNAA, FACHE, vice president and chief nursing officer. “In designing the hospital, we tried to maximize the use of wireless technology in all of our processes.”

The technological innovations at the new $150 million full-service community hospital include —

  • Electronic medical records (EMR): “We don’t use the word ‘chart’ in any of our policies or processes,” Yoder says. “Instead, we use the acronym EMR.”

  • VOCERA wireless communication badges worn on employees’ shirts eliminate disruptive overhead paging.

  • Wireless tablet laptops with fingerprint readers allow only authorized health care providers quick access to patient notes, test results and other data.

    Heather Barnart, RN, BSN

  • Wireless laptops for patients will be used until flat-screen monitors are installed in every patient room. This will allow patients to receive educational information, select meals and access the Internet.

  • Bar-code scanning technology, used by nurses to scan patient ID bracelets and medications, ensure that patients receive the correct doses at the correct times, following the correct routes.

    To make sure the new hospital was as well-designed and functional as possible, a mock labor and delivery room, an emergency department room and an in-patient room were constructed in a warehouse for an intense evaluation.

    “We had a number of people come in and critique every little thing that a nurse does,” Yoder says. “Many of the decisions from an architectural standpoint were made based on input from clinical nursing work groups.”

    The 170 RNs hired to work at Dublin Methodist received nine weeks of specialized training before the hospital opened to bring them up to speed on the new technology. “It was a huge learning curve for most,” Yoder says. “We did five or six live mock events leading up to the opening, using all of the equipment to work out the bugs.”

    Hospital culture

    But what’s more important, Yoder says, is the “culture” of the facility — how patients, nurses and physicians feel when they are there.

    Yoder says the new technology helps the medical staff work more efficiently. “Doctors and nurses have told me, ‘I think this is actually saving me time,’ ” he notes.

    To save patients time and frustration, Dublin Methodist does not have a traditional registration department. Instead, hospital personnel greet incoming patients at the door and escort them where they need to go. “Patients no longer have the experience of going to registration then to the lab then to X-ray then to their rooms,” Yoder says. “Now, patients go directly to their rooms and registration, lab and X-ray come to them.”

    More to come

    The advances that make Dublin Methodist unique to the northwest central Ohio region are far from complete.

    “We had to make sure not to open with so much technology that it was too difficult for the nurses to learn,” Yoder says. “Over the next year, we will be increasing functionality with wireless IV Smart Pumps and wireless Smart Beds, in addition to the implementation of more automatic alerts from the electronic medical record for patient safety.”

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    Don Vaughan is a freelance writer. To comment, e-mail editorMW@nursingspectrum.com.

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