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Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Compaq Team Up to Increase Operating Room Efficiency and Customer Service
Medical Center Embraces Wireless iPAQ Pocket PC as Key to Keeping Facilities and Medical Staff CoordinatedNASHVILLE, TN, and HOUSTON, April 22, 2002
Balancing cost efficiency and quality of care is a daily challenge for any healthcare organization. Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, has created more satisfying patient experienceswhile improving quality and cost efficiencies in surgical carewith a new patient tracking and operating room management system developed and implemented by the medical center's information technology staff.
Technology from Compaq Computer Corporation
The patient tracking and operating room management system, which was developed as part of a surgical center redesign project, follows each patient to each point of care, from admission until they are checked out of the hospital.
As surgery patients enter the hospital doors, medical center employees known as "greeters" log them into the system using a wireless iPAQ Pocket PC, immediately notifying each station in the surgical care cycle that the patient has arrived. By accessing the surgical schedule, the greeter is also aware of the time that the patient's surgery is scheduled, which operating room is to be used, and who the patient's doctor is. This information allows the greeter to get the patient to the correct area of the hospital to be prepared for surgery.
Once the patient is logged into the system, the medical staff updates the patient's status as they proceed through pre-op, the surgery itself, the recovery room, the move into the patient room, and continuing until the patient leaves the hospital. Constant updating of the patient's records ensures that doctors and nurses get the latest information on the patient's location, condition, and the progress of their treatment.
The capabilities of the iPAQ Pocket PC bring advantages over other handheld devices in meeting the requirements of the Health Care Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), federally mandated regulations that take effect in 2003 governing the privacy of medical records and patient information. The iPAQ has the capacity and capability for secure, wireless exchange of patient information through an intranet Web browserbetween the care provider and Vanderbilt's systems. Wireless intranet Web access will comply with HIPPA regulations and avoids the need to actually store patient data on the iPAQ Pocket PC itselfa big plus for confidentiality and data retention, should one of the devices be damaged, lost, or stolen.
According to Dr. Michael Higgins, an anesthesiologist and vice chairman for Adult Perioperative Services at Vanderbilt, getting surgery patients into the tracking system quickly is key to keeping the process moving efficiently.
"Our research showed that a number of our surgery patients were late going into surgery because they simply were not where they needed to be when they needed to be there," Higgins said. "We discovered that most of the 'delayed patients' were actually at the medical center on time, but had simply gone to the wrong waiting area or otherwise couldn't be located right away."
Higgins said using the new system, greeters enter information on exactly where pre-op nurses can go to find the patient. According to Higgins, that improvement alone has reduced the level of delayed patients by more than ninety percent.
"All of that is good for the hospital's bottom line and means better care for the patient," adds Higgins. "But there's a terrific intangible benefit as well: our patients are greeted by name at the door and everywhere they're taken upon admission. Compare that to having to re-introduce yourself at each stop along the way and wondering if you're even in the right place. On the day of his or her surgery, every patient wants to feel like they are special. This system helps us make the patient feel exactly that way."
Operating rooms are the single largest source of revenue for most hospitals. Getting surgical patients into the operating room and into recovery in a timely fashion means more efficient use of the operating room, maximizing return. Vanderbilt's new system even helps cleaning crews be better prepared to move in quickly to clean and prepare both the operating and recovery rooms for the next patient. This level of efficiency reduces overtime costs for operating room staff that otherwise would have to stay late to complete procedures. These efficiencies are realized all the way into the hospital room.
The new system has also increased patient satisfaction by keeping waiting to a minimum. In addition to all of that, the program can better serve referring physicians and communicate with them at critical times in their patients' care.
Goals of the surgical system redesign project were to improve the delivery of patient care, to maximize patient safety by making up-to-the minute information on the patient's status available to physicians and nurses at the moment and point-of-care and to improve efficiency in the use of the Center's operating rooms.
"Vanderbilt's surgical patient and operating room management system is an excellent example of the sophistication and yet the simplicity of the iPAQ Pocket PC," said Jim Weynand, Compaq vice president, government and education markets. "It's sophisticated enough to handle critical tasks, yet simple enough to operate that it can be easily used by workers whose primary skill sets lie in a different area."
Physicians at Vanderbilt say the success of the surgical model has prompted them to begin investigating ways to expand the patient information and tracking system to other areas within the medical center.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has built a strong reputation as a leader in medical education, research, and patient care throughout the Southeast and the nation over the course of its 127-year history. The medical center includes Vanderbilt Hospital, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, and the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Each year VUMC physicians treat 32,000 inpatient admissions in its hospitals and treat over 800,000 adult and pediatric patients in its outpatient clinics. At its heart Vanderbilt University Medical Center is driven by discovery and the immediate incorporation of new knowledge into innovation in patient care and physician and nurse education.
Founded in 1982, Compaq Computer Corporation is a leading global provider of information technology products, services and solutions for enterprise customers. Compaq designs, develops, manufactures and markets information technology equipment, software, services and solutions, including industry-leading enterprise storage and computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, communication products, personal desktop and notebook computers, and personal entertainment and Internet access devices that are sold in more than 200 countries directly and through a network of authorized Compaq marketing partners. Information on Compaq and its products and services is available at http://www.compaq.com.
This document contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include the possibility that the Hewlett-Packard/Compaq merger does not close or that prior to the closing of the proposed merger, the businesses of the companies suffer due to uncertainty; the market for the sale of certain products and services may not develop as expected; that development of these products and services may not proceed as planned; that Compaq and Hewlett-Packard are unable to transition customers, successfully execute their integration strategies, or achieve planned synergies; other risks that are described from time to time in Compaq and Hewlett-Packard's Securities and Exchange Commission reports (including but not limited to Compaq's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended