Real time health records reduce clinical errors, enhance time with patients

(Kingston, ON) -- Researchers at Queen's University and Kingston General Hospital (KGH) have developed a new, seamless system of electronically recording and tracking a patient's health record before, during and after a hospital stay that will reduce the chance of clinical errors, and make better use of limited hospital staff.

This is the first time in North America that all components of the wireless, mobile technology have been brought together into one, integrated system.

Combined with existing technology (hand-held computers, bar codes and wireless networks), the new software allows patients' "real time" health records to travel with them as they proceed through the hospital cycle of referral, assessment, pre-operative consultation, surgery, post-anesthetic care, recovery in the ward, and home follow-up.

"The traditional paper method approach to patient records results in widely varied and frequently inconsistent or inadequate information, which can lead to the wrong drugs being administered," says Dr. David Goldstein, a Queen's anesthesiologist and medical director of QUAIL (Queen's University Anesthesiology Informatics Laboratory), the KGH-based research group developing this system. Under the new computerized model which has been applied in the peri-operative surgical and pain management areas all the information needed by the medical team is amalgamated into the system, and is instantly accessible at the point of care.

Findings from the QUAIL team led by Dr. Goldstein, technical director Michael J. Rimmer, and research director Dr. Elizabeth VanDenKerkhof are reported in the August/September edition of the Canadian Journal of Anesthesiology, which can be accessed at: http://www.cja-jca.org/

"This highly innovative research program developed at Kingston General Hospital and Queen's University can only lead to major improvement in patient management," says Dr. Samuel Ludwin

Contact: Nancy Dorrance
Queen's University

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