Farmington Hills, MI (December 12, 2007)--- When arriving at the Emergency Center, most patients do not think about all the technology that helps their doctors provide the best treatment possible. One of the most critical aspects of care is the relationship between the Emergency Center and the hospital’s laboratory. Lab tests are key to understanding how the body is working, and the results help doctors make a diagnosis, manage critical conditions like bleeding or heart attacks and track recovery progress.
In Botsford Hospital’s Emergency Center, two technologies work together to provide increased quality of care while reducing the patient’s length of time in the ER. The first technology is the fully automated testing process in the lab. This system uses electronically controlled robotic arms, not human hands, to place bar-coded specimen tubes on a 45-foot long conveyor track. As the tubes move along the conveyor track, other robotic arms remove them for testing at appropriate stations, then cap the tubes and place them in a “stockyard” for storage and easy retrieval; all according to directions on the electronically-ordered, bar-coded label. “Botsford was the first community hospital-based lab in the country to install robotic tracks for both chemistry and hematology testing,” says Gil Herman, Ph.D., M.D., Botsford’s Director of Laboratory Medicine. The system has streamlined specimen processing, analysis and reporting results.
Botsford’s lab robotics system has been so successful that Botsford’s equipment and software vendors use the hospital as a showcase and beta site for their products. “We host visitors from all over the country,” says Dr. Herman. “Many are surprised to find such as complex and sophisticated lab in a hospital of Botsford’s size.” Patient safety, employee safety and workload relief were important drivers in Botsford’s decision to invest in an automation project of this scale.
The other technology that works to improve patient care in the ER is an electronic medical records program called A4 HealthMatics. A4 is a computer program that allows physicians, nurses and other hospital staff to more effectively record and track patient information and improve patient care. This system allows the medical staff to easily and efficiently access vital patient information and eliminates errors that are often associated with bad handwriting on paper charts. Sanford Vieder, D.O., Interim Chief Medical Officer and emergency physician, says, “With this system, I can order anything I want through the click of the mouse. No nurse or secretary is needed. I can either select a series of orders based on my patient’s symptoms, or I can pick from a menu of individual tests. The results then go directly to the lab where the automated system is put to work.”
With these two technologies working together, Botsford can offer increased quality of care while also reducing the patient’s length of time in the Emergency Center. The average length of time for non-admitted patients is around 120 minutes. Prior to this technology, the average time was 200 minutes. For minor injuries or illnesses, Botsford’s Express Care has reduced its average length of time to less than 60 minutes from arrival to discharge.
Dr. Vieder states, “By taking these two technologies and linking them together in a seamless fashion, we can provide faster care with more accuracy. It has changed the way I practice emergency medicine.”
Botsford Hospital, an independent 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford has received the 2006 Governor’s Award for Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Hospital Setting, and, in 2007, a three-year recertification as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Botsford’s Web address is www.botsford.org.
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