Tracking tech serves many purposes in new facility

The new Stamford (Conn.) Hospital opened on September 26 with some legacy information technologies moving to the new facility, but with the new construction, plenty of new IT also was part of the strategic plan.

The $450 million, 180-bed tower replaces the old building that primarily will serve as an administrative facility but retains some clinical units as well, and Stamford retains its licensure of 305 beds across the system.

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New technology includes virtual desktops, which separates applications from hardware and essentially are cloud-hosted desktops on an internal server, says John Rossi, executive director for information services. The hospital used software from Appsense to track baseline performance for applications and the virtual desktops.

All patient rooms have computers, and clinicians and staff members wear a badge that enables authentication on computing devices and supports single-sign-on. Citrix supports badge functions, and Imprivata supports single-sign-on.

Also See: National patient identifier critical to ensuring patient safety

But it is the Sonitor tracking system—using tags from TeleTracking that are attached to clinicians and patients—that is a core piece of a strategy and philosophy to tighten the relationship between patients and caregivers while also enforcing safety rules. For instance, if a patient is not seen by a nurse within a specific time threshold, a 60-inch television screen at nurse stations notes the time lapse, and the appropriate nurse is alerted. Tags on patients let personnel know where they are at all times, including those prone to wandering, and let family and friends track the progress of a patient in surgery via a screen in waiting rooms. TeleTracking also assists in patient flow, admission and transfer-referral procedures, as well as tracking patients who left without being seen and ED diversions.

Next, Sonitor tracking will connect with soap dispensers to note if staff or clinicians wash hands when entering or leaving a patient room.

Patient rooms in the new hospital use the GetWellNetwork television system to enable patients to watch television and access educational materials—the viewing of which is tracked. GetWellNetwork also serves as a communication conduit for patient to ask for a nurse, contact environmental services if the room is dirty or too hot or cold, or notify facilities management if a light bulb is out, says Steve Sakovits, CIO. “Real-time patient satisfaction feedback is even better than expected,” he adds.

Even more important, Rossi notes, is that all this connective technology “takes away black holes,” improving care and satisfaction.

For example, when a clinician or staff member walks in a patient room, the GetWellNetwork TV will display their name, photo and title. Patients have three call buttons they can press to ask for bathroom assistance or water, or report being in pain. Wireless badge technology from Vocera also enables patients to communicate with nurses via a speaker.

The new hospital also has four robots to automate supply delivery such as linen and medical equipment. The robots are programmed not only to travel to specific destinations, but to move to the side if in an elevator and someone comes in, or move out of the way if going down a hallway and a person is walking toward it, Sakovits says.

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