Bespoke technology making life simpler for patients, families and staff
February 15 2012, 4:32 pm

Patient Flow System and Patient Calling System 

The logistics of running a world-class hospital can prove a real challenge to even the best health care team. To help meet this challenge, we are constantly reviewing and improving our systems.

The Royal Children’s Hospital’s commitment to technological innovation will see our processes supported by the introduction of two custom-built patient management systems funded through the Foundation.

The expansive new hospital site will be the first in Victoria to host the tailor-made Patient Flow and Patient Calling Systems. Both were designed in close consultation with staff and hospital users, and are perfect examples of how the hospital is deploying new technologies to positively transform inpatient anode outpatient experiences for a new era of health care.

In the new Royal Children’s Hospital the child and family become the centre of care when receiving surgical  treatment. Prior to surgery patients are typically confronted with a constellation of reviews and checks and they would normally move in and out of rooms to be seen by multiple clinicians including nursing staff, anaesthetists, surgeons, residents and registrars. This logistically stressful experience will change dramatically with the introduction of the new patient flow system.

Patients will be greeted by reception staff and immediately be tracked by the new Patient Flow System. Nursing staff will place patients in a single location and the interactive electronic bulletin boards will detail their progress as they move through their sequence of consultations and safety checks. Their journey is  transcribed onto an electronic map that can be adjusted and updated instantaneously, with the patient at the centre of activity around which hospital staff rotate.

The Patient Flow System marries patient management databases to accurately display relevant treatment information, reducing risk and improving patient safety. After a patient leaves surgery, the  system tracks them through to recovery where an electronic map displays a graphic representation of the ward status.

As multiple journeys are traced through the hospital  departments, administrative efficacy and transparency are greatly increased. Surgery schedules will become more malleable, allowing clinicians to accommodate emergency cases and better utilise ward rooms and equipment.

With interfaces installed throughout clinical and surgical rooms, the Patient Flow System creates a complete hospital view, permitting staff the flexibility to take advantage of all available resources. By eliminating unnecessary wait time and making salient data accessible, treating teams can responsively match clinical resources to patient needs.

If you offer a child the choice between a waiting room and a meerkat enclosure, the odds are the waiting room won’t win.

Luckily, the new Patient Calling System is set to make queues and static waiting rooms a relic of the past. The Patient Calling System was designed by staff from RCH’s Outpatients and other departments, and developed in-house by the IT department.

The system will efficiently manage large patient volumes and encourage flexible use of the dynamic new waiting area, minimising queue congestion and maximising the hospital experience for outpatients and their families. On arrival, families are given a small wireless pager that resembles an electronic coaster.

Clinical rooms are fitted with an interactive screen, which medical staff activate to confidentially notify and locate patients. Families will move freely through the new facilities – exploring the outdoor garden, attending the cafe, visiting the aquarium and meerkat enclosure – secure in the knowledge that when their mobile pager begins to flash, beep and vibrate they will be called to a designated waiting area to meet their doctor.

As Leo Donnan, Chief of Paediatric Surgery, explains, ‘We are taking disparate systems and connecting them. This will streamline all of our systems and make our processes much safer when all the checks and balances are visible’.

The Patient Calling System and the Patient Flow System promise to usher the RCH into a new era of heath care provision, where all available resources are flexibly and efficiently engaged to deliver an optimal paediatric experience for both staff and patients.

The Foundation supports the purchase of life-changing and life-saving equipment used across many departments of the hospital. Find out more about donating for Equipment and Technology here.

This story was featured in the Foundation’s annual review book, The Impact of Giving, read our online version for more stories about the RCH.