Amy, who had been hospitalized with leg injuries sustained in a car accident, was finally able to leave hospital due to obtaining physician approval. While thinking how to go to the checkout counter at the first floor to complete discharge formalities, she was surprised to see a nurse pass by with a cart that had a cash register, credit card terminal and printer. She smiled at Amy and said, “Are you ready to leave? Since you can’t fully walk properly yet, checkout can be done here”.
This situation is not fictional but a real everyday service provided by Peking PKUPH. Founded in 1918, PKUPH is one of the top 10 hospitals in China. In 2014 June,the hospital received the AcuteCare Stage 7 award from the American Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics (less than 2% of the hospitals have achieved this level currently), and also received the HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Award. These awards are the best testimony of PKUPH’s medical healthcare quality and management improvement through the hospital’s new system.
Fan Liu, President Assistant of Peking University People’s Hospital, expressed that with their new enhanced management efficiency, the hospital hopes to better deploy all its patient-centered services. Since 2012 it began to cooperate with Advantech by implementing a wide variety of mobile information devices, including computerized nursing carts, documentation carts, meditation car ts for resident physicians and the previously mentioned mobile cashier cart to improve its overall healthcare services quality.
Eugene Lin, Business Development Manager of AdvantechDigital Healthcare in China, stated, “Digitalization of medical records is the first step for an e-hospital.” PKUPH had already adopted PDAs earlier on to help its practices, but the small screens with limited functionality were unable to provide adequate power for applications and as such were only being used to confirm the identity of patients. Both reasons encouraged PKUPH to upgrade its IT applications and adopt the PDAs as an auxiliary tool. By using Advantech’s computerized nursing carts, nursing tasks such as administration, replacing drip bags and measuring patient ’s physiological information (blood pressure, body temperature, etc.) could be performed in the ward and be recorded directly into the main system. The cart could also be used as a computer desk at the nursing station because the height could easily be adjusted.
Mobile Workstations in Hospitals
Present ly PKUPH receivesapproximately 8,000 to10,000 patient visits. However, the buildings of this time-honored hospital are very old so halls and consulting rooms are relatively small. The outpatient service counter is often full of people and such overcrowding affects the service quality. PKUPH has been planning to introduce a mobile temporary billing counter to relieve the long queues, and after evaluating various options, Advantech’s mobile cashier cart was chosen as the ideal hardware solution to provide a stable reliable system that could speed up outpatient services.
Jun Yang, Key Account Supervisor of Digital Healthcare in China, noted that mobile cashier carts are different from mobile nursing carts in a number of ways. The former usually has a lot of power consuming devices installed, including three kinds of credit card terminals and two printers. Some of them use AC (alternating current) rather than DC (direct current), resulting in the power integration beingcriticalfor smoothoperationof all devices. Being proficient in power integration technology, Advantech manufactured and assembled the equipment from the trolley body to the computer and battery. Moreover, the modular design also reduced customization costs and time. “After using our mobile cashier cart, PKUPH has significantly decreased the waiting times of patients, and as such its use of time has been expanded from morning only to all day”, Fan Liu said.
The successful implementation of the two projects allowed PKUPH to continue deepening cooperation with Advantech and adopt mobile medical carts that enable resident doctors to explain conditions to patients and their families during ward rounds, thereby assisting with ward round teaching. Eugene Lin highlighted that every PKUPH mobile medical cart integrates two screens to display PACS images and electronic medical records at the same time so as to better facilitate doctors’ understanding of theirpatients’condition. The hospitalisplanning to further install high-definition cameras for remote consultation to reinforce the doctors’ ability to provide service in faraway and rural areas.
Many manufacturers are able to offer medical equipment to the Chinese market, but the reason why PKUPH chose Advantech’s solutions was for two main reasons: The first is the capability of providing small carts with good features for flexible movement and operation within the narrow wards and the space-limited nursing stations. Secondly, the whole package was put together by Advantech instead of selecting commercially available self-assembling products. This enabled more convenient and efficient after-service through a single supplier. In addition, Advantech provides on-site maintenance services throughout China. The repairs are usually completed typically within two days, thus diminishing the risk of equipment failure that could affect hospitaloperations. In the future,PKUPH plans tofully implement additional mobile medical carts, as well as continue to carry out its program of digitization of its medical services so as to improve its service quality and efficiency while reducing hospital management costs.
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