You can’t manage what you can’t see. In a hospital
setting, visibility into key operations and processes
is vital to its core mission, namely providing
the highest quality patient care delivered with
And so it is at Cook Children’s Healthcare System
in Fort Worth, Texas, where efforts to connect
data to care have taken the form of an innovative
dashboard solution that seamlessly integrates
data from various sources and functions. Hospital
workers across all departments are able to leverage
real‑time information to deliver patient services
precisely when and where they are needed.
“In an environment where you are taking care of
patients, you want visibility as a whole, not just for
one particular patient,” said Mark Pittman, Cook
Children’s enterprise data integration manager.
“We were looking for a way that the executives
and clinicians on the floor, along with other hospital
staff, could actually look at a status board and get
pertinent information that told them exactly what
was going on, and when.”
Out with manual, in with automated
“We had no big‑picture visibility into key hospital
operations,” Pittman recalled.
Cook Children’s sought a solution that would fundamentally transform the way the not‑for‑profit healthcare organization could meet pressing interoperability and operational challenges, and ultimately improve the quality of patient care. As a Corepoint Integration Engine customer since 2009, Pittman knew all the organization’s clinical data was flowing through Corepoint, and therefore interoperable and accessible to his team. With that knowledge in mind, the Cook Children’s team developed its “Patient Location and Status Board” initiative. In it, the team took its various core applications, which are all integrated through Corepoint, to create a comprehensive feed for its McKesson Patient Visibility (MPV) system, yielding invaluable insights into various hospital operations, all in real time.
“In an environment where you are taking care of patients, you want visibility
as a whole, not just for one particular patient.”
Cook Children’s enterprise data integration manager
Designed with ease of use for any hospital worker,
the dashboard proved to be “an instant hit,”
according to Pittman. “Interacting with it is basically
touching the screen and then doing what you need
to do depending upon your role,” he explained.
Prior to bringing the dashboard project online,
hospital staff used various manual procedures
and hard‑copy reports to determine patient
room availability, room status, patients in need of
transport around the hospital, patient pharmacy
requirements, equipment availability and a
plethora of other vital information needs.
Today, hospital executives begin each morning
in a conference room to receive updates on the
previous evening’s activities and a look at the day
ahead. Front and center in the conference room are
several screens featuring the dashboard. Simple
commands bring up images of floors, rooms,
treatment areas, nurses stations – literally any
area of operations.
The main order of business at this daily meeting is
a comprehensive safety check. Any area in need of
remedial work due to incidents occurring overnight
are displayed and assigned a status showing what
needs to be done to resolve potential safety issues.
Various colored icons and symbols correspond
to the status of patient rooms – whether they
are vacant or occupied, or in need of cleaning
or about to receive a new patient. Coming soon,
the dashboard will note any special medical equipment the incoming patient might require. So the location of a wheelchair, for example, can be pinpointed and then tagged for delivery to where it is needed, when it is needed.
Payback: a holistic view of hospital operations
“The dashboard gives our executives a transparent,
real‑time, 360‑degree view of the whole system,
and a holistic perspective that greatly improves
and speeds up overall decision‑making,” Pittman
said. “It all comes together in the dashboard, and
in a highly visual way that is so easy for anyone to
understand and comprehend.”
Beyond the boardroom and the main dashboard,
a system of view‑only screens are distributed
throughout the hospital floors, accessible via PIN
by doctors, nurses, environmental staff and other
workers. What workers see on the screen depends
upon their individual role.
For example, a worker looking to see which rooms
need to be cleaned has no access to individual
patients’ prescriptions. The system gives the
cleaning staff an at‑a‑glance view of which rooms
are a cleaning priority, based on room assignments
made by bed management or the house
supervisor. A patient in the post‑surgical recovery
room can be assured of a seamless transition
without any delays to a clean room with all the
necessary medical equipment in place.
As Pittman puts it, “There are no more internal
phone conversations like, ‘I got this patient, where
do I take him now? What floor is available?’ Instead,
a look at the status dashboard shows precisely
which room on which floor is available and that’s
that.” This functionality, according to Pittman, is also
beneficial to properly load‑balancing the floors.
A boon to end users, and to patients
Gina Hernandez, supervisor/staffing coordinator at
Cook Children’s, noted that the dashboard is “easy
to learn,” with staff workers becoming comfortable
with the system within a few months of use.
“The patient care alerts, such as new, regular and
stat orders, pharmacy orders, critical lab results
and radiology results can help the nurse to see
instant updates and have a more efficient workflow
rather than stopping to check for new orders,”
she pointed out. “This can benefit the patient by
receiving interventions of care faster, leading to
better patient outcomes. Critical lab results can
be communicated to clinicians in a more timely
manner, and new orders can be received faster.”
Hernandez reported that the dashboard results
in patient room assignments being made more
quickly, and that the number of phone calls back
and forth has “dramatically decreased.”
Plans are underway to do away with the traditional
practice of having patient transport staff assigned
to each floor, replacing that with a more efficient
central transport team that leverages the
dashboard to know “exactly when a patient will be
ready for transport to another department, to their
room or to another test area.”
“The dashboard gives our executives
a transparent, real‑time, 360‑degree
view of the whole system, and a holistic
perspective that greatly improves and
speeds up overall decision‑making.”
Some patients arrive at the hospital with their
own supplies of drugs, which are turned over to
hospital staff while the patient is hospitalized.
Notifications entered into the dashboard alert the
nurses to return the drugs to the patient when
he or she is discharged. The automated process
can also send alerts and pharmacy orders to the
patient’s pharmacy, and also to the pharmacist’s
mobile phone, pager, email or whatever way the
Other at‑a‑glance notifications and alerts available
to the staff include special care instructions for
individual patients; special safety information if,
for instance, a potentially dangerous patient is
admitted; information on patients that may need a
full‑time attendant such as those on suicide watch;
and identification of patients in need of a translator.
Every task is checked off as completed, which
sharply reduces duplications of efforts and errors.
For example, when a piece of special medical
equipment is located and delivered, its new
location is noted by the system and the primary
task is marked as completed.
“The patient care alerts, such as new,
regular and stat orders, can help the nurse
to see instant updates and have a more
efficient workflow rather than stopping to
check for new orders.”
Cook Children’s supervisor/staffing coordinator
Business value on top of clinical value
The dashboard also helps the hospital achieve its
own service‑level agreements. For example, data
is available on how fast rooms are cleaned and
prepared, or how quickly patients are discharged and
sent home – but only after following all the correct
discharge protocols specified within the dashboard.
Being in a highly regulated environment with
various compliance requirements, the hospital
gets a boost from the dashboard when it comes to
tracking regulatory items such as readmission rates
and speed of patient discharge. In an environment
in which the industry is transitioning to value‑based
care, these key performance metrics are critical for
hospitals and health systems.
Improved workflow. Fewer errors. Less duplication
of effort. Improved compliance. Improved patient
care. Better distribution of patient workloads.
Within this system, powered by Corepoint, Cook
Children’s Healthcare System and its patients are
reaping multiple benefits.
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