All hospitals must take proactive steps to reduce the risk for possible human errors that lead to medical mistakes. But at CHOC Children’s, early investment in health information technology has undoubtedly improved patient care and saved lives.
The opening of our new South Tower next spring will further demonstrate the possibilities of health information technology. From seamless communication between hospital departments, to “plug and play” medical devices that automatically stream accurate, up-to-the-minute information into electronic medical records, these systems will promote better care while reducing the possibility of human error; hence, patient harm.
Health Information Technology Enhances Patient Care
Although increasingly rare, medical errors are most likely to occur because humans are involved. Automating such manual tasks as calculating medication dosages or entering information into a patient’s chart reduces that risk.
Years ago, CHOC Children’s worked with the Cerner Corporation to automate the process of entering medical orders into electronic patient charts. Every CHOC physician participated in this project, and now the system we helped design is being adopted by hospitals throughout the country.
The opening of our South Tower will take our existing health information technology to the next level. For the first time in our hospital’s history, every patient service will be provided within a completely pediatric-focused environment. This includes the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department, as well as surgical, radiology, laboratory and pathology services.
Building on the sophisticated infrastructure already in place, CHOC will connect all of those services into one system. This means from the moment a child enters our doors, sharing patient information across hospital departments will be greatly enhanced.
Our upgraded health information technology system features additional patient safety features:
• Surgery “Wall of Knowledge” — a large flat-screen monitor providing essential patient information for the surgery team, including the medical record, vital signs, lab results, images and an extensive safety check process. A sophisticated remote camera system will immediately display pathology results and images to waiting surgeons, as well.
• Emergency Department Patient Tracking System — tracking each patient from the moment of arrival, enhancing communications and workflow through automated notifications.
• Bar Coded Blood Transfusions — automated to further ensure patient safety.
• Bedside Laboratory Specimen Labeling — portable computers that scan patient ID bands and print labels at the bedside, ensuring accurate specimen labeling.
• Computerized Medication Safety System — scanning patient ID bands at the bedside to ensure each patient receives the correct medication, and at the correct time.
• “Plug And Play” Medical Devices — including patient monitors and IV and medication pumps that stream patient information directly into the medical record.
• Advanced Nurse Call System —that immediately connects patients and families to the nurse’s smartphone, as well as the nursing station.
And best of all, these upgrades are taking place throughout the CHOC Children’s campus. That’s because we know it’s about more than just having the right tools for the job — it’s also about leveraging those tools to the safest possible extent.