Keeping track of St Johns' patients

Monday, July 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A new tracking device to monitor the whereabouts of hospital patients is here in Tulsa.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger introduces us to the ED Tracker, the first of its kind in Oklahoma. With more than 47,000 patients coming into the emergency room every year, folks at St. John Hospital knew it was time to open a bigger facility.

And with the new building, came a new tracking system geared to keep tabs on trauma patients that come through. "Prior to coming to the new emergency department we had no tracking system of any kind. We couldn't tell where their patients were." ER Director Connie Leonard introduced us the ED Tracker. It's a software program that logs a patient's whereabouts from the moment they check-in until they check out.

When a patient is brought into the emergency room they are immediately assigned a tracking devices to wear during their stay. And once the information is entered into the system, the device pretty much takes over. "Because of the infrared tracking badges we can do it passively and we have sensors in the ceiling that automatically track and time stamps these certain parts of patients visit."

If a patient is getting lab work done or seeing a nurse, the staff can simply look up at one of the seven plasma screens to find out where a patient is, how long they've been there and who they're with. "It tracks not only the patients but certain things that are happening to them like their lab work and x-rays." And if a patient wanders off. A sensor, similar to the ones you see at the mall, will notify staff immediately.

Leonard says it's a program that's worked well here and could benefit other facilities like nursing homes. “They would know where their residents are especially since they wander around so much."