Electronic whiteboards a time-saver for nurses

Waikato District Health Board IS team work with Datacom system to develop SSIS package

The Waikato District Health Board has rolled out an electronic whiteboard system to capture and display patient information.

Nurses at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton used to manually update whiteboards to display patient information, including new patients, assigned doctors and nurses, special requirements and discharge time.

The DHB decided it was time for an upgrade and started investigating electronic whiteboards. After a vendor selection process, which included a series of workshops, Waikato DHB chose to work with Datacom, says Allan Crome, information systems project manager for Waikato DHB.

The project team, which was made up of Waikato DHB IS team members and Datacom staff, developed a SQL Server Information System (SSIS) package, which takes data from the existing data warehouse and loads it into the new SQL Server database on Windows Server 2008 R2, says Crome. A .Net application displays the patient information on the electronic whiteboards. Datacom provided the .Net development while the in-house IS team built the interface between the patient management software, pulling data through the SSIS package, and the whiteboards, says Crome. The whiteboards are now displayed on 47-inch monitors — using Internet Explorer running in kiosk mode — in the nurses’ two workrooms.

The system has been in-place for three months, says Crome.

“As of the very first day, uptake from the ward staff has been tremendous. They have used the system right from day one and it’s never reversed back to any other type of manual system,” he says.

Waikato DHB put “quite a bit of effort” into training, says Crome, but the electronic whiteboard system was also designed to be simplistic and user-friendly.

“It had to be a general solution used by everyone on the ward; we were not training specific roles to become specialists in using the application,” he says.

The electronic whiteboard system has helped save time in many ways, says Crome. The information is now available on displays in the two workrooms, saving staff having to walk to “the one whiteboard” for accurate updates.

Other efficiency gains are in bed management and catering. Bed managers previously had to physically visit the wards, or call ward staff, to find out where patients were and which beds were free. Now, they can view the status of a ward over the intranet, Crome says. Also, if patients have specific dietary requirements, this information can be relayed directly to the kitchen.

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