Feb. 17Redesigned dry-erase boards in patient rooms at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital are there to enhance clinical communication and patient experience, officials say.
"Care boards" give health providers at-a-glance information about a patient's status and include important data such as discharge plans, pain and mobility levels, dietary restrictions, goals and the names of care team members.
The hospital installed the new boards in January as part of a larger effort to streamline staff and patient communication. COO Debbie Bostic said better care is delivered faster and more efficiently when patients are an active part of the process.
"I think one of the most important things is about this organization is that we're patient-centered and focused," she said. "The more involved they are in their own care, the better their outcomes will be. Healing will happen much faster."
She emphasized that it's not just about patient satisfaction, but patient experience. Care boards have long been a feature in OH rooms, but they've never been patient friendly. These boards, sometimes complete with drawings or notes to patients or family members, replace the paper charts that hung from beds long ago and create an environment for communication between everyone involved.
An OH graphic design team contributed to that effort by enhancing the visual appeal of boards and adding patient-friendly colors and graphics. They revamped the boards to emphasize information, says Director of Nursing Joni Sims, that people "want and need to see."
"Over the past six months, we've molded the traditional white board into a much more effective communication tool," she said. "Everything listed on the board is based on patient and clinician feedback."
Sims said sometimes boards can help keep patients safe. Physicians and nurses use language or abbreviations that anyone could understand, so that, for example, a patient heading to surgery who can't have any food or drink won't be given a soda or snack from a vending machine from a well-intentioned family member. They're an invaluable asset in every room, she said.
Part of the patient experience effort includes hourly rounds by nurses, day and night, and constant communication with providers to determine a course of treatment from the moment of admission to the day someone goes home. OH employees now give patients an expected discharge date as soon as they're admitted, because, as Sims said, no one wants to spend too much time in a hospital.
"Nobody wants to spend much time here, and we understand that," she said. "People want to get healthy and they want to get back to what they have waiting for them at home"
Boards have also been installed in the emergency department and intensive care unit at Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital. All rooms should feature the new boards by next month, according to officials.
Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, email@example.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey
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