Dry-erase whiteboards have a number of uses in hospitals, medical centers, and clinics. When used consistently and efficiently, a whiteboard can help communicate to both patients and staff key details that include but are not limited to diet, schedules, allergies, and special considerations. Individual whiteboards in a hospital room serve as a central location for both the family and the professional staff to stay informed of patient goals and timelines. Whiteboards are also becoming a popular choice for tracking patient schedules in clinics, emergency rooms, and operating rooms. Dry-Erase whiteboards have several advantages to consider. A dry-erase whiteboard in a patient’s room is easy for both staff and family to access, improves communication between staff and patients and have been proven to raise Press Ganey scores.
Improving Patient-Staff Communication
A key benefit of the use of whiteboards within medical facilities is improving communication between the medical care team, the patient, and concerned family members. Dry-erase whiteboards in patients’ rooms serve as a means of communication easily accessed by both staff and family members. Important information concerning treatment schedules, diet options, allergies, medication times, and care team members can be easily recorded and changed on a whiteboard. When used properly, this offers information as to where a patient is when out of the room for treatment and what goals or tests are set to be accomplished during a shift and also provides a place for the patient and family to record any concerns or questions they may have. When the patient or family members have access to a whiteboard, communication is improved because a question is less likely to be overlooked or forgotten if a staff member is not immediately available to provide an answer. Family contact information is also easily available at a glance, and family members can update their contact information as needed.
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Whiteboards in the OR and ER
In both the operating room and emergency room, schedules are often hectic and information must be communicated quickly and accurately. Proper use of either dry-erase or computerized interactive whiteboards in the operating room or emergency room setting provides vital information. A whiteboard in the operating room quickly lets everyone know which doctors are scrubbing in on which surgery schedules, the type of surgery to be performed, who the patient is, as well as any special considerations such as additional health issues or allergies. In the emergency room, a whiteboard shows patient arrival times, the type of injury or illness presented on arrival and information regarding any safety or treatment measures taken prior to arrival at the emergency room. Patient allergies and a brief health history may also be recorded for quick access while a permanent record is being organized.
Boosting Efficiency and Patient Care Quality
Communication, patient safety, and patient care quality can all benefit from the use of whiteboards in a hospital or clinic setting. Often, clinics are a frenzy of activity, with patients quickly being moved from one area to another for evaluation or treatment. The use of a whiteboard quickly communicates where a patient is as well as the staff assigned to the care and treatment of that patient. Patient safety needs are easily communicated concerning allergies or assistance that may be needed for walking or transferring from bed to chair. With the recording of arrival time to the clinic as well as departure times and destinations, efficiency is improved as unnecessary delays are avoided.
Patient safety and safeguarding patient privacy are issues that are a concern in clinics and hospital settings. While clear communication provided with the use of whiteboards greatly improves patient safety in making sure that vital information is accessible to medical staff, a system for safeguarding patient privacy should be included when training staff in the effective use of whiteboards. The use of abbreviations and codes as well as the location of either dry-erase or interactive whiteboards can help balance the need for patient privacy with the need for efficient use of whiteboards to improve patient care in all medical settings.
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