3 advantages of using mHealth in the OR

Marion McCallMarion McCall

The perioperative environment is commonly acknowledged as one of the hospital’s most complex. It can be a labyrinth for patients, who move through numerous providers and departments. For clinicians and staff, the workflow is highly compressed; like a string of dominoes, one small action can set off a chain of events with impacts such as delays and gridlock. Milestones, events and hand-offs are stacked back-to-back with minimal to no margin for error and little breathing room for changes.

This condensed and complex environment is precisely why complete command and control of the OR is imperative – and why mobile technology is an optimal path for helping achieve it. In particular, mobility offers three distinct advantages that support command and control and help ensure all parties have the information they need to keep workflow and patient flow moving:

1. A near real-time, patient-centric OR perspective 

During this highly compressed episode of care, a patient is treated by a team of clinicians who are often from different departments. In addition, supporting staff such as surgical scrubs and radiology play an important part in efficient patient movement. Having a single, shared view of patient milestones – for instance, when prophylactic antibiotics are administered, anesthesia is induced and the incision is made, or surgery is complete and the patient is on his way to PACU – allows the entire care team to know exactly what is happening which supports the delivery of more coordinated care. Giving everyone this same view on a mobile device can further synchronize care among disparate care providers. As a result, the patient is more likely to move efficiently between care events, and clinicians are less likely to miss specific timing for milestones such as medication administration.

This view also helps ensure a heightened clarity and patient-centricity across the care team when members are diverse and widespread. With it, for instance, a nurse is less likely to ask a patient the same question another clinician asked 30 minutes ago. This level of focus provides a better patient experience and may also give him greater peace of mind. 

2. A comprehensive OR view supports better decisions with fewer interruptions

A patient-centric view enables the OR team to keep one patient on the most efficient, highest quality care path. Sometimes, however, this path requires an adjustment that can impact the entire OR.

For example, it’s 9:35 a.m. and, as OR manager, you see that the patient in Operating Room 10 was scheduled to be closed at 9:30, yet the procedure is still ongoing. After checking on the reason for the delay, you realize you’ll need to move the next case scheduled for Room 10. You know you need to act quickly, and with a mobile view of the status of your OR suites, your actions can be non-invasive as well as fast.

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