Electronic board tracks patients' progress

  JOHNSON CITY -- The anxiety of waiting family members of patients at any healthcare facility can be overwhelming.
  But at Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) the waiting has been made a little less stressful with the installation of a patient information tracking system, an electronic board stating a doctor's name and the patient's confidential code number known only to family members. The board tracks the patient (by only the code number) through phases of surgery: from pre-op, time in surgery, to recovery and post-op. Doctors and nurses involved in the patient's care place the information from their posts and families are able to track the process instantly.
  "It's another tool we use at Mountain States Health Alliance that focuses on patient-centered care. If we help care for patients' families while they are awaiting critical news of their loved ones by providing information, we have also helped take care of the patient by relieving the stress of the family that does not know how far along, or where in the surgery process, the patient might be," said Tom Tull, MSHA Senior Director of Guest Services. "We are committed to continually improving processes for our patients and their families to help with the hospital experience."
  The tracking board, driven by the same Operating Room Management Information System (ORMIS) system that is used in surgery, has been installed in JCMC's new Family Surgical Waiting area. The board is mounted on the wall opposite the desk of the Family Advocate. A Family Advocate is on duty in the waiting area to assist families in any way while their loved ones are in surgery. The advocate answers questions and tracks information, as well as adding a personal touch to the hospital experience.
  "Information is the key to giving families a feeling of empowerment. It gives them a sense of staying in touch with their loved ones," Tull said. "This is extremely important in the process of patient healing."
  While serving a shift as a Family Advocate this week, Lisa Simmons said, "Families love it. I've gotten really positive feedback from the installation of the tracking system."
  Tull said future tracking boards will be added to other areas of JCMC including the Same Day Surgery Family Lounge.