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New patient status update boards operating at Community Campus

New patient status update boards operating at Community Campus

Families of patients undergoing surgery at Upstate University Hospital’s Community Campus will now be able to track their loved one’s procedure and whereabouts in the hospital through a digital update system displayed on TV screens in the waiting room and in the cafeteria.

The screens were installed at the Community Campus this summer and the system went live in late November. The same system has been in operation at Upstate’s downtown campus for several years.   

When a patient is admitted for surgery, he or she is assigned a patient identification code to protect his or her privacy. The person accompanying the patient is given a card with that number on it as well as the doctor’s name. The card also includes a color key to explain the patient’s progress, for example, green means the patient is in the operating room or procedure area while blue means the person is in recovery. 

The patient’s color-coded progress is kept up-to-date on flat-screen TVs in the Surgery Center waiting room and in the cafeteria. Loved ones use the patient identification code and color chart to track the patient’s progress.

The same system, but with more detailed patient information, has also been installed in three internal areas for medical staff: pre-op, the operating room and the recovery room. The new system has proven helpful to both patient families and medical staff, said Nancy Towne, associate director of nursing at the Community Campus, who helped bring the new technology to the hospital.

“Before the boards (families) would have to go in and get a verbal update,” Towne said. “It’s really cut down on interruptions for the nurses and anxiety for the patient’s family.”

When explaining the system and ID card to family members, nurses will also point out at what point the surgeon will visit the waiting room with an update and about how long the patient will be in recovery. Knowing those details can allow family members to go to the cafeteria for food or coffee, where there’s another update board displaying the same information, Towne said. That feature alone has thinned how crowded the waiting room is, she said.

Community Campus medical staff have long relied on large, wall-hung bulletin boards with magnets assigned to patients and doctors that staff would move around and update as needed, Towne said. The new digital system is a culture shift that staff is getting more accustomed to all the time. It’s also adding efficiencies, she said, allowing staff to better track when surgeries will start and end, and when rooms might be available.

“It’s amazing, I love the TVs,” Towne said. “It really is mind-boggling how it has changed the way we look at the board. It’s a good thing.”

Caption: New digital status update boards at the Community Campus, like this one in the cafeteria, display patient identification codes for people undergoing surgery in the hospital. The IDs are displayed in different colors that are regularly updated to communicate with family members the stage of the patient's procedure