|PATIENT TRACKING AND WORKFLOW|
PATIENT TRACKING AND WORKFLOW
A critical element of both patient safety and hospital logistics is the identification of both the patient's physical location and the process they are engaged in. Our research has produced a workflow tracking system that can be used to represent the "location" of the patient at any time. "Location" needs to be understood as a three tier phenomena. There is the logical location which is the process the patient is engaged in, e.g. triage, and there is the record location which identifies the records of the patient and enables all records to be seen by any person at any time. There is the physical location which identifies the location of the patient using any form of RFID locators and is not included in our system.
The logical location is captured by a lightweight tracking system. A middleweight tracking system identifies both the logical location and the record location of the patient. The heavyweight tracking system includes all three locations of logical, record, and physical types. Each of these can be defined as "comprehensive" if they are installed across all hospital departments.
The lightweight system requires a simple window on a work station screen that is clicked when a patient has completed processing at one point of care, triggering a new patient icon to appear at the next point of care where they have to go to. This system has the potential to produce a map of the whole hospital and show the locations of all patients at all times as a real-time process map much like a railway network diagram. The impact of such a system in high movement areas (ER, OR etc) is likely to be very valuable, as well as for hospital wide patient load monitoring. However it has a high cost for defining the possible workflows in the hospital, and requires a certain degree of staff diligence to record patient movements.
Clinical Workflow Systems (CWFLS) allows clinical staff to define workflows and electronic documents to move with the patients by automatic routing. The Version 1 prototype was built for Westmead ED. The Version 2 prototype was built for the RPAH - ICU.
The aim of this project is to provide lightweight tracking of patients.
Brief Project Methodology:
The methodology is:
1. Study the existing processes in each ward and identify the points in which transitions of care occur and the information that passes on with those transitions.
2. Design a schematic representation of all transitions and information flows.
3. Implement a workflow data model.
4. Design the methods by the which the workflow system will be introduced into the wards
5. Test the system with trusted staff and develop methods for operationalising the system.
6. Train all staff to use the system.
This project will improve patient care by:
Ensuring each patient's logical location is known at all times.
Provide ward managers information that enables them to identify demands put on their resources and the limitations at any particular time.
Allow senior managers to see the patient load across the whole of the hospital and to collect long-term statistics to help in better planning for patient care.
Extension of this system to a middleweight tracking system would collect and transport patient records to ensure a patient's record is always available at the point of logical location and so attending staff can always read the record.