Hospital staff can monitor bed availability at a glance
New televisions have been installed around Palmerston North Hospital - but it's not to catch the Olympics.
Instead, the screens inform staff about how many beds are available on each ward as a part of an initiative called Hospital at a Glance.
This should help the MidCentral District Health Board meet targets for having shorter stays in the emergency department, hospital services business manager Maggie Oulaghan said.
"Hospital at a Glance is a graphical display of the current bed status of MidCentral Health that is refreshed every five minutes. It enables staff to quickly assess at any time of the day what the hospital capacity is, what mix of patients there are across all specialties and wards, plus traces patients' progress through their stay. It also indicates the staffing resource available and utilised in each ward for patient care."
The screen shows an array of information, including how many bed spaces are available in a ward, how many patients are being discharged that day from each ward and how many people are in the emergency department waiting room.
MidCentral DHB is the fourth health board in the country to get the system but others are expected to follow suit.
"So far staff have been very supportive of it, and other DHBs in New Zealand have introduced something similar in their organisations."
But the new system has not won everybody over.
A hospital employee, who did not want to be named, contacted the Manawatu Standard this week criticising the screens.
The staff member wondered if the system was a waste of the "already stretched health dollar".
"Why does all this money need to be spent on a system and TV screens that nursing staff in the course of a duty have no time to look at? Surely the monitoring of bed space/occupancy is the job of nursing co-ordinators/bed managers?
"This system can be run through the computer systems of the appropriate staff, so why install it through the wards where staff won't have the time to use it?"
The 13 screens were installed, with their associated computer hardware, at a cost of $2800 each. With 13 screens in place, the bill to get the system operational totalled $36,400.
Ms Oulaghan said the system had been money well spent. "The information is available on computer desktops as well and highly visible television screens were chosen to make the information readily available to staff, at a quick glance."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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