OVMC/EORH Go Live With Complete Digital Operating Room Technology

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Earlier this month, surgical suites at Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital celebrated the end of an eight-month project as the hospital system launched the first computerized operating room tracking software and technology across the surgical services departments on both sides of the river. What was once driven by a mix of paper files, medical records and an electronic medical record has now been completely digitized with the use of a new operating room module technology that has resulted in major communication improvements and care coordination system-wide.

“While we were in the process of completely transitioning to electronic medical records for our inpatient and physician practice areas, we decided to look for a way to streamline our surgical services departments as well,” said Mary Jo Grendel, information systems lead clinical systems analyst. “Our team was extremely hopeful the digital operating room technology would not only streamline patient care and coordination within the departments, but would also bring us closer to building a complete electronic medical record system-wide.”

According to surgical services directors Fran Broadwater, director of surgical and anesthesia services at OVMC and Tina Archer, director of surgical and anesthesia services at EORH, hospital administration saw the electronic OR technology as the key piece to help the organization streamline patient care standards.

“The new digital operating room module provides us with an integrated system with all of the scheduling, reporting and management tools needed to effectively run an operating room,” said Broadwater. “With our significant increase in surgical volumes on both sides of the river, this new module has offered us benefits we couldn’t have hoped to achieve with our old operating room system.”

After a few weeks of implementing the new digital technology system, communication and patient care from the provider team has improved care delivery within the surgical areas.

“Patient information is all contained within one place, data is legible and there is improved consistency,” said Archer. “It has allowed us to provide a great work environment for our surgeons and we are thrilled to see new surgeons who are choosing to treat their patients at our facilities.”

By completely integrating the new digital OR module with the hospital’s current information technology system, all patient information is automatically updated in the patient’s electronic medical record and is immediately available for physicians to view during each procedure.

“Nurses can easily and seamlessly record information, make modifications and capture all surgical information necessary for each individual patient,” said Broadwater. “This technology is providing our nurses with the tools they need to effectively manage, organize and complete their day-to-day tasks and documentation in a modern OR.”

In addition to the improved coordination of patient care between physicians, surgeons and nurses, Big Boards have been installed in each of the OR suites which allows nurses and physicians to schedule appointments and monitor all surgical information associated with a patient in real-time. Information entered on a patient’s surgical profile through the big board also becomes part of the patient’s EMR, which can then be accessed by any other provider associated with the patient.

“The Big Board tracks patients from the time they arrive at the hospital, to the time they are brought in to the post-anesthesia care unit,” said Archer. “Our physicians performing these surgeries can see testing updates as the surgery is being performed to monitor their patients’ progress. We’ve also added the Big Board functionality in our surgical waiting rooms, so family members can easily look at a screen and see the status of their loved ones through each step of the surgery.”

This patient care initiative is just one of many improvements OVMC and EORH continue to make to better serve the Ohio Valley communities.

“This new software increases safety features for our patients and gives our staff the ability to communicate real-time when it comes to documenting patient medications, completing medication verification checks and reporting patient allergies – all of which are extremely important for continued quality of care,” said George Couch, president and CEO of OVMC and EORH. “Through constant communication and practice, our physicians, nurses and IT staff have continued to work together to create the best possible system for our organization and our patients.”

Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling West Virginia, and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry Ohio, are a 340 bed combined organization with over 1600 employees providing the only comprehensive acute and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River.

Photo caption: Members of the OR Module pilot team celebrate with Dr. James Shope at the morning launch of the digital operating room module. Pictured from left to right are Meg Riley, Darla Price, Dr. James Shope, Kim Jordan, Tina Archer, Tammy Deleonardis and Carol Mamone.