The news article below provides an excellent example of the kind of innovative projects underway in the Central East LHIN to meet the LHIN's Strategic Aim to "Save 1,000,000 Hours of Time Patients Spend in Central East LHIN Emergency Departments by 2013" identified in the 2010-2013 Integrated Health Service Plan. 

New tracking device to improve Ajax-Pickering hospital wait times

Rouge Valley first acute care hospital to use system

The Rouge Valley Health Care System is the first acute care hospital in Canada to implement a new automated patient tracking system, and the Ajax-Pickering hospital has made it common practice in the past month.

"The new tracking system will help us bring care and treatment to patients more quickly," said Dr. Gary Mann, chief of emergency at Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering, in a press release.

The radio frequency identification system tracks patients, physicians and staff wearing sensor badges in an attempt to improve wait times and patient safety. The system shows how long patients have been waiting to be seen, as well as their location, on computer screens in the emergency department.

The system records the time from a patient's triage to registration, to waiting room, to treatment space assignment, to primary nurse assessment, then to primary physician assessment. Once a patient is seen by a nurse or physician, that caregiver is automatically assigned to the patient in the tracking system, eliminating the extra step needed for staff to document it.

The system is about a month old, so it's too early for results, but Dr. Mann looks forward to getting wait-time data quickly.

In 2008, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care selected Rouge Valley to be among 23 emergency departments that would focus on reducing wait times.

The system includes map views displayed on monitors throughout the ER. An overall department floor view, for example, shows rooms that are already occupied by patients, cleaned and ready, or needing to be cleaned. Once the room is cleaned, the system is immediately updated to show the room is available for another patient.

"We hope that this will also make the work of our staff easier and produce fewer wasted steps," said Ramona Visser, registered nurse.

The program also offers important data, such as the average volume of patients flowing into emergency per hour, the total number of patients in the department at any one time, and the average length of a patient's visit.

Asset tags are also placed on equipment so it can be quickly located. 

Reposted with permission from the Ajax Pickering News Advertiser.