Hospital IT Team uses Technology to Improve Lives, Save Money, Time

Story Number: NNS121012-24Release Date: 10/12/2012 3:07:00 PM
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By Dan Barber, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms Public Affairs

NAVAL HOSPITAL TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms has set a goal to significantly decrease overall command operations cost and increase productivity with the latest technology.

"Our goal is to leverage technology in different areas making peoples jobs easier and faster," said Craig Palmer, chief information officer of the Naval Hospital.

An example of this technology innovation is with the addition of virtual computer log-on for Medical Home (Med Home) providers.

"In the case of the Med Home providers, the IMD [Information Management Department] staff has been very sensitive to their needs," Palmer said. "It used to be that the patient was moved around to our staff, now our staff is moved to the patients," Palmer said. "We figured that it was conceivable that there would be about three people trying to log into a computer in a 20-minute exam in the same exam room. Normally, the log in time on each computer takes roughly three minutes. We tried to figure out what we could do to help. We basically did a technology insertion for our Med Home staff, which has worked out so well that it is being incorporated in other parts of our hospital and clinics," Palmer added.

"We were able to get the log in time on Exam Room computers, down from about three minutes to approximately 18 seconds... our ultimate goal is to get that time down to three seconds."

Palmer added, "If a provider logs on 14 times a day (which is typical) and they are saving two and a half minutes per log on, the time saved can add up pretty quickly. A real big bonus is before, because of computer log-on times, they weren't always able to enter their clinic notes in CHCS [Composite Health Care System] and AHLTA [Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application] records while in the exam room. This technology now empowers the providers to be able to enter their notes while in with the patients."

Palmer pointed out that providers report that they are now able to get out of the hospital an hour or more earlier most days then they did before. "This technology not only allows for better patient care, but it is adding to the quality of life for our providers," said Palmer.

Cmdr. Raul Carrillo, Nurse Corps, Medical Services deputy director and department head, Emergency Medicine Department was the key clinical contact for the project. Carrillo reports, "Virtual log-on for providers has increased productivity, it also gives the staff the ability to pull out their CAC [Common Access Card] from one station and move to the next. The clinic staff calls it 'follow me CAC' allowing staff to move from exam room to exam room."

"The time saved with virtual log-on will also allow our people to be able to work on Relay Health, a secure web-based program to provide better communications with our patients, and to allow the providers more time to complete their charts," said Carrillo.

The bottom line is, with the technological advances taking place at the hospital, it will improve patient care, decrease overall costs, work-hours and add to the quality of life for staff, which will lend itself to making this command a health care facility of choice, and a work place of choice for staff.

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