Computer Tablet Pilot
Sutter plans to introduce advanced technology to support staff on the go. One new access technique being pilot tested is a tablet PC with an I-phone application for Electronic Health Records (EHR) – as well as making EHR available to SMCSR users throughout the new hospital via data that is encrypted and decrypted at the end site and delivered via WiFi and cellular.
This technology uses a client computer program embedded in an I-phone to authenticate the user using a special application before access is allowed – keeping patient records secure. The system also tracks who accessed the data and when it was obtained. Multiple access attempts using incorrect passwords will be denied. Laptops, desktop computers, hard drives and computer cards used by Sutter personnel will be encrypted to ensure privacy of communications.
In an emergency, doctors can electronically ‘break the glass’ and access a patient’s records outside of traditional methods while still maintaining patient confidentiality. This emergency access protocol will also apply when a covering physician is caring for another doctor’s patients while he or she may be on leave or unavailable.
Sutter is planning a network that will keep virtually all communications and access on the Sutter proprietary network, while taking steps to provide continuity of quality care.
Bar Code Medication Administration
Since 2004, Sutter has deployed another technology designed to enhance quality service for patients. Today nurses use bar code scanners to read codes on patient wristbands. The system scans the ID of the nurse and medications that are prescribed for each patient. A time stamp will record when medications are given.
This tool helps ensure that patients receive appropriate medications with the correct dosage at the time specified. It also checks for possible drug interactions to minimize errors and side effects. Alerts immediately notify the caregiver if problems or duplications are detected. This is yet another way that Sutter is providing multi-level safeguards for patients.
Wireless Computer Carts and RFIDs
To reduce trips to and from patient rooms to the nursing station, staff members use mobile computer carts that can be rolled into patient rooms to update charts, schedule treatments and access data.
The new Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa will operate using a campus-wide medical telemetry network enabling a variety of new technology. For example, a wireless pocket-size device that can detect heart arrhythmias for patients at risk anywhere in the hospital can be deployed to transmit continuous data to a manned central monitoring station.
The building infrastructure is being designed with capacity to implement a patient monitoring system that could follow them wherever they go in the hospital. Medical equipment, patients and infants can be tracked throughout the new facility using sensors at the doors and exits. This system would identify the patient as well as track the movement of medical equipment using active or passive Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFID) similar to the FastTrack system used by commuters when passing through tollbooths.
RFIDs can also be used for inventory management and to locate the correct device, such as a specific type of IV pump, which may have been stored in discrete areas.
Common Headwall Technology
The technology and access ports found in headwalls behind patient beds is being standardized to address all patient conditions. For example, fetal monitoring, bedside physiological monitoring, and telemetry access will be available in every room, not just in the nursery, labor and delivery, ICU or NICU. Common configuration of headwalls gives the staff access to the same tools and technology in every patient room.
Intensive Care Unit Advances
New electronic features will be part of the SMCSR ICU where specialists, critical care physicians and nurses will staff a central location 24/7 to review vital signs and detect changes that call for immediate action.
Sutter has had great success in reducing patient length of stay in critical care units using advanced monitoring and staff procedures. Today Sutter ICU teams can use a two-way video link for interactive communication with local caregivers helping to protect the patient from further distress.
“Room Service,” Patient Education and Entertainment
A “room service” hospitality model for food service will be initiated at SMCSR. Using an on-screen video menu display, patients will be able to choose from a list of possible options. This feature will also allow patients and visitors to enjoy meals together in private patient rooms.
An upgraded video entertainment system, such as those deployed in hotels, is also being considered that would give patients the ability to select from a wide range of viewing options, educational materials and even the possibility of accessing movie selections and video games.
Video games are already available to patients at some Sutter locations via in-room television. As this new Sutter facility is built, the network will have the ability to support services such as these without having to re-cable down the road.
Two-way Patient/Nurse Enhanced Communications
In most hospitals, the time-honored way to call a nurse is by using a call bell. Communication between patients and nurses will be improved at SMCSR with the introduction of a device enabling real time audio conversations. This system will include additional features, such as a built-in escalation process to permit rollover of the call to another caregiver or charge nurse.
This advanced nursing station monitoring system may also keep track of room visits, have a button to seek relief from pain, request water, adjust room temperature and have the ability to detect changes in bed weight – should a patient decide to use the rest room or sit in a chair – so the staff will know that a patient is out of bed.
Compatible technology is beginning to link together previously autonomous communication and detection equipment and make information available to the staff throughout the facility. This ‘one unified system’ approach allows technicians to better maintain and test all systems more frequently, minimize downtime and avoid expensive repairs through early detection.
Authorized Access Safeguards
A highly sophisticated security system is being installed, in addition to traditional security cameras, to prevent unauthorized access to laboratories, pharmacies and each public area of the building, such as lobbies, halls and exits.
With this innovation, management can lock down the facility in the event of adverse internal or external events, such as when a theft of property is confirmed or suspected, or given the possibility of an attempted infant or patient abduction, etc.
Security cameras will not be installed in patient rooms with the exception of the ICU. In the ICU, the camera will be turned away from the patient. The security system also uses card readers with a memory device zoned for limited access only by authorized personnel. This new security net will give patients and staff a strong sense of security and safety.
Visitor “Guest Net”
Patients will be able to communicate with family members and friends using the WiFi enabled Guest Net throughout SMCSR. New parents will be able to upload baby pictures and share joyous occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, while in the hospital.
Also under consideration is a ‘way finding’ system that will allow visitors to electronically find their way through the building. This could take the form of a hand-held application that would serve as a supplement to regular posted signage.
For non-English speaking patients and visitors, Sutter will use translation phones at the registration desk and throughout the hospital linked to a service providing live operators fluent in up to 70 languages.
Landline to Cell Phone Conversion
Since the internal WiFi network at SMCSR is wireless, the system will take the incoming landline carrier signals and convert them to a cellular signal for redistribution within the building.
A first responder public safety band is also being installed to give fire, police and ambulance services the ability to communicate with each other.
Full size computer stations will be provided for staff use in key locations. These PCs will also be available for on-line training. In addition, computer systems will be installed in staff lounges and other sites. While laptops and notebooks will not be issued to staff, the infrastructure of the building is being designed to support their use. Private areas are being planned where physicians can go to document and annotate patient records.
Electronic clocks will be used for staff members to log in and out when they take breaks or when they arrive and leave for home. When staff members are busy, they may forget to take authorized breaks that will give them a chance to rest and refresh. This system will serve as an ongoing reminder that breaks are important for the health and benefit of all concerned.
Beyond the many Green and sustainable aspects of the new Sutter hospital already discussed, other tech systems will monitor refrigeration systems to keep them operating at peak efficiency. Rubber wheels and carpets in hallways will help to minimize noise and enhance patient comfort. The latest technology advancements are being installed to reduce noise in and around patient rooms, including innovations designed to reduce or eliminate fan noise in the new facility.
Home Care Division
On the drawing board for the future is a “community caregiver concept” that may be implemented as part of a Sutter policy focusing on a Total Care Continuum. Sutter Care at Home will extend ongoing care beyond the walls of the hospital stay to include at home caregiver services. The goal is to reduce the prospects for patients returning to the hospital for a repeat of the same condition that brought them to Sutter in the first place. The objective is to do all that can be done to adequately address potential patient conditions before hospitalization and thus prevent a recurrence.