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Serving Up the Latest Technology with Patient Care

April 2016
Author: Lisa Ellis

With technology serving up even more state-of-the art advances in patient care than ever before, many hospitals are incorporating these IT improvements into their operations to create a virtual feast of high-quality offerings.

Take the Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, California, which just opened its doors in October of 2014. The organization spent $284 million to construct a brand new, high-tech facility that incorporates the latest and greatest IT tools and capacities and uses them to achieve the highest-quality standards of care and treatment.

Here are some of the tools that Sutter Medical Center includes on its tech “menu.” These IT innovations are integrated right into the building’s design and framework so they can operate seamlessly throughout the course of the day:

  • A central patient information system makes it easy for patients and visitors to acclimate themselves to the hospital and access educational material.

  • Personal controls in each room allow patients to set their own temperature and sound preferences.

  • A standard headwall placed behind every bed accommodates ports and technological equipment that could be needed to monitor and treat a variety of health issues.

  • Video menus make it easy for patients to select their meal preferences.

  • A nursing communications system connects patients with the clinical staff using voice-over-the-internet phone technology.

  • Electronic monitoring adds an extra level of security for patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

  • A medication safety system reads bar codes on a patient identification bracelet to ensure medication administration and dosing are correct.

  • A wireless medical telemetry network (with a device small enough to fit in a patient’s pocket) allows rehabilitation patients to be monitored wirelessly for serious problems (such as an arrhythmias) while they move throughout the building. The data is transmitted to a central manned station.

  • Radio-frequency identification tags track medical equipment and manage inventory via sensors in doorways and exits. (This technology works in a similar way as the FastTrack system that is used in tollbooths.)

  • The operating rooms incorporate high-definition video imaging to enhance surgical procedures.

  • Secured patient information systems are equipped to protect personal data.

  • Other wireless systems integrated into the hospital’s framework also support cell phone service, WiFi, and infant tracking. They can also issue alerts in an emergency.

All of these and many other examples spotlight technology at its best in the healthcare setting. You, too, can incorporate these types of IT tools to enhance your own designs in your quest to achieve medical excellence. Embracing such high-tech conveniences and safety capacities can help your organization to provide a true patient-centered experience, while ensuring optimum efficiency for staff members.

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