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Summor Morris, an emergency room nurse, and Dr. Michael Disney are proponents of the new bedside computer system at Parkway Medical Center.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Summor Morris, an emergency room nurse, and Dr. Michael Disney are proponents of the new bedside computer system at Parkway Medical Center.

Parkway installs bedside computer technology

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com 353-4612

Ordering tests and diagnostic lab work became easier for emergency room nurses at Parkway Medical Center since the facility began using bedside computer technology.

The Electronic Nursing Documentation software from Pro-MED Clinical Systems lets the nursing staff treat patients and maintain medical records with a finger touch. The touch screens mounted by each of the 12 emergency room beds document orders and track patient flow through the emergency department.

According to Monty Gooch, director of Emergency Services at Parkway, the transition from paper to the computerized system went smoothly.

"We began training April 1 and that education paid off when END was turned on. ...The reason this system is so successful is because the staff took the idea on with a positive attitude," Gooch said.

Gooch said the new system allows higher quality documentation, an increase in patient satisfaction and a deepened compliance with medical standards.

Deciphering illegible handwriting on patient documents is no longer an issue for Parkway nurses.

"Patient safety has increased because END eliminated altogether the problem of legibility," Gooch said.

The computerized system also prompts nurses through patient treatment.

Summor Morris, an emergency room nurse at Parkway, said the prompts result in better treatment. Prompts are patient specific and let the nurses assess each individual's complaints.

Belinda Bullard, Parkway marketing director, said patient satisfaction is another priority.

"This system has allowed the doctors and nurses to spend more time with the patients. ... We want to make sure that all of our patients are satisfied and more direct care allows for this," she said.

"Many times patients in the emergency room feel like they are just left in rooms," Gooch said. "With this electronic system, we have decreased the amount of time patients spend in the emergency department while also increasing the time we spend with the patients by taking the work to their bedside."

The average time a patient spends in the ER is an hour and 45 minutes now, said Gooch. That's because all information that nurses need is on the bedside computer system.

And what do the patients think about it?

"They're calling us high-tech now," said Morris.

A final phase, expected to be in operation by early 2008, will allow physicians to complete documentation and order medications at the bedside computer system.

"This system will be directly linked to the labs and the pharmacy," said Dr. Michael Disney, director of Parkway's Emergency Department.

"There are so many benefits in using this system," said Disney. "Most of all the speed and accuracy of documentation is increased. ... I am looking forward to using the physician module."

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