January 06, 2012
Since the beginning of December, new technology at Rapides Regional Medical Center has helped family members waiting on loved ones in surgery keep informed of their status.
The Surgery Patient Tracker provides an up to the minute progress report on the patient once they are ready for surgery to begin until the patient is assigned a room, or returned to Day Surgery to await discharge.
Following surgery, the patient’s doctor still meets with family members, but the Surgery Patient Tracker allows families to keep track of their loved ones until the physician arrives.
“It is primarily to help inform patients’ family members of their status” from the time they enter the surgical process until they exit it, said Charlotte Pate, RN, CNOR, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Director of Perioperative Services.
The 60-inch flat screen monitor is mounted to the back wall of the surgery waiting area. It runs continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is no limit to the number of patients the tracking system can handle.
Once a patient is ready for surgery, a family member is provided a randomly assigned number generated by a computer. RRMC’s volunteers who staff the surgery waiting room during the week are also provided the patient’s ID number.
When the family member arrives in the surgery waiting room, they look for their loved one’s surgery ID number on the Surgery Patient Tracker screen along with the patient’s date of birth and the patient’s “Current Location.”
SURGERY PATIENT TRACKER - 2
The “Current Location” abbreviations shown on the monitor are:
ENDO: Endoscopy Area
HOLD: Operating Holding Area
OR: Operating Room
PACU: Recovery Room Area
DS: Day Surgery
FLOOR: Patient’s Room
SICU: Surgical Intensive Care
MICU: Medical Intensive Care
“It was helpful and useful for us to know where she was at any given time,” said Buck Jones, whose daughter underwent surgery in December.
The information on the monitor does not contain any medical or health information, nor does it list the type of surgery. All of that remains confidential to the patient.
As the patient moves through each area, the patient’s nurse is responsible for updating the board.
“The feedback has been positive,” said Pate. “The families like the ability to know, and that it gives them a real-time experience.”
Jones said he remembers sitting in the surgery waiting room with friends and family with little knowledge of what was occurring.
“We sat and kind of wondered in the past what was happening,” he said. “Now, we can look on the board and see where the patient is. To me, that is a positive thing.”