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  • April 14 2011

    NCH North Naples and the Cerner Smart Room™

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    Yogi Berra once famously said, “The future ain't what it used to be.” Turns out, Yogi was right, especially in healthcare.

    The future hospital won't only be different, it will also be smarter. Proof of that can be seen on the NCH North Naples campus, where we've created — with our Cerner Corporation partners — a prototype hospital room of the future. With philanthropic support, it could soon be the technologically-savvy setting that is representative of NCH hospital rooms.

    The Cerner Smart Room™ senses whenever a caregiver enters the room. Then the technology “introduces” the caregiver—be they care technician, nurse, therapist, physician, dietary or environment service individual—by flashing the person's picture, name, and title on a flat screen TV, easily viewed by the patient in bed. Simultaneously, next to the door post outside the patient's room, a smaller screen informs anyone passing by in the hallway that a caregiver is with the patient. This same hallway screen also indicates if the patient is in isolation or has any other special needs.

    • For the patient, the Cerner Smart Room™ offers educational videos selected especially for this patient's particular needs. For instance, patients with diabetes—which impacts one-third of NCH patients—would receive videos on correct diet, exercise and taking the appropriate medication. Discharge instructions, such as how to care for a surgical wound, could be easily explained by other specific videos. New moms would be shown how to feed and bathe their newborns. Using TV as a supplement to face-to-face instruction will aid retention and compliance. (And yes, traditional TV entertainment would still be offered on the screens.)
    • For nurses and physicians, a flat screen above the patient's head board will indicate clinical data and the entire electronic medical record. The room “knows” who just walked in and flashes up the view that the care giver has pre-selected. For example, a nursing view might show medications which need to be administered, current vital signs, and recent lab results. A physician's view might show test results along with the vital signs, current medications, and suggestions from other consultants. X-rays can be reviewed on this same screen, and most important, a physician or nurse may place or review orders and document wirelessly on a portable keyboard in the room. The new system encourages nurse and physician real-time documentation while they are with the patient and family, and increases important “face time” among patient, family and caregiver. Caregivers still have the option of returning to the nursing station to complete work. But the bottom line impact of the Cerner Smart Room™ is improved overall efficiency, satisfaction, safety, and quality.

    From an information technology point of view, the Cerner Smart Room™ B-Braun intravenous smart pumps and the Welch Allyn vital sign monitors download their information seamlessly and wirelessly. A patient's medical records are securely available to any medical staff member involved in his or her care. Thus a physician can keep current on a patient's condition, whether at home, in the office, somewhere else on the hospital campuses, at night or on the weekend

    Our colleagues at the North Naples Operating Room are meanwhile creating their own “future,” as revealed in emails shared by RN Bill Diamond, OR Director, and RN Sarah Holton, new Assistant Director of Surgical Services. Dr. Jim Guerra said, “This is the best this OR has ever run.” Dr. Steve Meckstroth agreed, “This is the best service I've ever had at North Naples.” Dr. David Lamon added, “I bring my outpatients here because you are highly efficient and overwhelmingly friendly.” High praise, indeed. With a team like this and technology like this, our future at NCH is bright.

    Dr. Allen Weiss was appointed President and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System in September, 2006. Previously, he was President for over six years. After graduating from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and subsequently completing his training at both the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University, he had a solo practice in Rheumatology, Internal Medicine, and Geriatrics for twenty-three years. He is board certified in all three specialties and is recognized both as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. He has his MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University where he subsequently was named alumnus of the year. At the state level, Dr. Weiss led the Quality committee of the Healthy Florida Foundation that subsequently shared recommendations for evidenced based medicine to transform healthcare. In July 2005, Dr. Weiss had the honor of expressing his views with the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subsection concerning the use of information technology in health care.

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