Putting Manual Processes to Bed
Using MEDITECH's Bed Board and Forward Advantage's Bed Stat, Centura Health improves staff communication while making patients more comfortable in less time.

Until recently, nurses at Centura Health (Englewood, CO) were required to manually track down housekeeping to ensure that rooms were being cleaned in a timely manner. It wasn't until the organization began searching for a bed management solution that Centura I.T. leadership discovered they could have this functionality at no cost, simply by downloading an enhancement to their Client/Server 5.5 MEDITECH system. Only a short time after deploying this feature, Centura's staff need nothing more than a phone, pager, and their current I.T. system to effectively manage patient beds.

"Even though automated bed management is still fairly new to us, we've already been able to decrease the time it takes us to place patients in beds, by 28%. That is quite a good improvement," says Amy Feaster, vice president of information technology at Centura. "In addition, our nurses have seen an increase in their own productivity, thanks to a system which makes bed status much more visible, and easier to track than ever before."

A Clean, Automated Process
By implementing a paging system between the Bed Board and Forward Advantage's Bed Stat functionality, housekeeping personnel at Centura are quickly notified when rooms are ready to be cleaned. Once in the dirty room, housekeeping then uses the phone to communicate bed location, employee number, and bed status--all through voice prompts--into a centralized process screen in Bed Board.

"Bed Board shows us what beds are occupied or dirty, what beds are clean, and what beds are in process of being cleaned," says Manuela Metzler, staffing office manager at Centura. "We've found that patient placement is much easier and faster, which is nice for our staff, and even nicer for patients who want to be situated quickly."

All information is captured by Bed Stat and transferred directly to Bed Board, providing Admissions and other departments with immediate access to accurate bed statuses.

"Our nurses no longer have to track down housekeeping to check the status of a room," says Joyce Touchton, project manager of I.T. at Centura. "When a room is in the process of being cleaned, one phone call changes its status in the Bed Board to 'in process.' When the housekeeper is done, she calls again to update the status to 'cleaned.' It saves us time while making our jobs easier and the patients happier."

By using a familiar telephone interface for communication, Bed Stat also eliminates the need for extensive training and system access for the housekeeping staff. "Bed Stat is a change of routine for our housekeepers, but fortunately, it is very easy to learn and does not require any special training," says Metzler.

Just as important, the communication between the clinicians and housekeeping staff has improved significantly. "Since the housekeeping staff updates the Bed Board with bed availability information via phone," says Touchton. "When nurses need to know the availability of a bed, they can view one screen and have all the information right there in front of them."

A Few of Clinicians' Favorite Things
To assist clinicians in bed management, a user-defined process screen offers a variety of displays for streamlining functions. Centura's nurses have already chosen a few favorites that help with their everyday workloads.

"One of our favorite attributes is the ability to identify specialized characteristics of each bed--if it's close to the nurse station, air-enabled, or equipped with telemonitoring," says Touchton. "This helps us to place patients in the most appropriate bed, right from Bed Board, without having to memorize the details of every bed location ourselves."

Another popular feature is the Transport, which logs and tracks patient mobility in the hospital. "The customized screens allow for additional information on the patient as well," says Touchton. "We can see more about the patient than just the diagnosis. For example, we don't simply know that the patient has pneumonia, we also know the specific symptoms that the patient is experiencing. This information makes it much simpler for us to accommodate each patient's unique needs."

Metzler adds that the importance of Bed Board and Bed Stat is not only improving bed placement, but also folding even more information into Centura's MEDITECH system. "This is just one part of our overall efforts to maximize our I.T. utilization," she says. "The fact is, the more complete our medical record is, the better we can treat our patients over the course of their lives."