Saturday, March 22, 2014

TO HOSPITALS: STOP! Step away from the demo. Step away from the drawing board

Yesterday I read an article titled something like How to Build a Smart Hospital.  I flinched. But I peeked.  There was an awful lot about electronics. I felt my blood pressure rise.  I was sure the article was written by someone under 55 years old.  

I remembered, this morning, that night in spine rehab when the nurse could not figure out the medicine program or what to do about my one med that disappeared from the computer. I remembered registering there for surgery, sitting in pain for an hour and a half while a nurse tried to get a few sentences into the hospital registration program.

I remembered last week complaining about the new Windows, and the smart professional woman next to me telling me that she had given  up on its touch screen all together.  

And a few days ago, trying to find the main entrance to a hospital, then learning the next day that the main entrance was the one with the Maternity sign.  And never finding an information desk.  

Don't give us hospitals that are smarter than we are!  Shut down the board meeting and ASK A PATIENT whether he needs a kiosk to get admitted, when he thinks his test result will be: "six months to live."

And if you must have electronics, pick the ones that anyone can use, even the substitute nurse from the other department.  Even me, when I am scared or in pain.  

Pick things like the pager that helps us move about, including going to the bathroom, while waiting for our turn to get good news or bad. 

A patient needs a kind, calm, competent person with the needle, competent with the space age machine, with the deadly chemo.  A patient does NOT need a nurse or resident or surgeon who is still learning the new electronics this morning!   

Spend the money to get kind intelligent caregivers.  Then spend money on taking time to train them until they know the new gadgets better than they know their own faces in the mirror. Check on them until you know they know.  Until you see them work these new features.  

And don't give the patient any electronics he doesn't want and can't use. The patient already has enough to do just figuring out the "smart" call buttons with the cute, microscopic pictures on them.

Put a sign in the board room that says:  

No patient should need training to use this hospital

Send the same sign to your architect and hospital designer.  

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