HP and Lucile Packard test new dashboard

Oct. 28, 2011, 2:29 a.m.

Hewlett-Packard and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital teamed up to introduce electronic, “patient-centered” dashboards in the hospital on Stanford’s campus, hoping to replace hand-written white boards and improve patient care.

With just a few clicks, the digital dashboards provide caregivers with patient records, real-time updates on a patient and a “checklist” of what needs to be done, aimed at minimizing human error and maximizing efficiency. A system of green, yellow and red lights indicate the urgency of a potential medical complication and aims to help doctors decide where to focus their attention.

Changes to patient care were made in one-third of cases when the digital dashboard was used instead of a whiteboard, according to an HP press release.

Each column on the dashboard displays information about various patient needs, such as when a central venous catheter must be replaced or which sedatives should be prescribed. The columns also provide quick ‘reminders’ to caregivers of things to do when visiting a patient, such as turning the patient to prevent ulcers.

The hospital has been involved in various national quality and safety initiatives in the past. In summer 2010, in collaboration with HP, a group of doctors and other healthcare providers from the hospital gathered to discuss the possibility of creating a technological device that would provide “clinical decision support.”

They contemplated the idea of an electronic dashboard system that would present patient data in an organized way, and researchers from HP worked to gather the relevant information from vast amounts of patient data. They then channeled this information into the electronic dashboard, hoping to create a helpful tool in medical decision-making.

Dr. Deborah Franzon, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the hospital, conducted a research study in which she evaluated the effects of installing the dashboards in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). For her work, Franzon received the Innovations in Patient Care Award, a $25,000 internal grant awarded to creative thinkers, which, along with funding from HP, helped enable implementation of the dashboards.

“What I had envisioned when we first started planning was that this would be kind of like a jeopardy board,” Franzon said. “Where you would see the visual red, yellow and green colors and click on them to receive more information.”

The dashboard program was launched in May 2011 in the hospital’s PICU. During the first month of this pilot program, research nurses from HP and extra nurse practitioners were available to aid doctors and nurses navigate and make use of the dashboard.

“We had a three month implementation period where we collected and audited data, tweaking little pieces with the programmers to update, modify and add new features to the dashboard,” Franzon said.

The system is currently up and running with real-time content. Franzon believes that overall, nurses and staff have been excited about using the dashboard, which was specifically designed to be user-friendly and to require only limited training.

“The system is not just for physicians, but is multidisciplinary in that it engages all care providers at the bedside to have a conversation,” Franzon said.

Through this approach, the healthcare providers hope to create an integrated atmosphere to better engage with their patients and staff and save more lives. The hospital plans to conduct a survey later this month in which they will assess if staff perception of communication in the ICU has changed since the implementation of the dashboard.

Though there have been no efforts yet to spread the electronic dashboard model to other hospitals around the country, Franzon said she believes that this is a possibility. Three other doctors from the Children’s hospital, Dr. Natalie Pageler, Dr. Jaap Suermondt and Dr. Chris Longhurst, presented the dashboard to various health and informatics experts at the American Medical Informatics Association’s (AMIA) 35th Annual Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 26.


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