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Investing in Technology and Patient Safety

Denton Arledge is WakeMed Vice President of Information Technology

Every day I see the progress on the new Raleigh Campus Patient Tower. It is amazing how the building and the gardens are coming along. What is not visible from the outside, however, is the technology incorporated throughout the new Patient Tower.

We have added a computer in every patient room, a computer in alcoves between every other patient room, as well as the typical number of computers in nursing and physician work areas. This is a change from the way we have provided access to computers in the past.

Nurses at Cary Hospital chart on a WOW

Currently, nurses and physicians use workstations on wheels (WOW) or access computers at physician and nurse work areas. As we move toward full electronic medical records, we understand that doctors and nurses need immediate access to computers.

And since available the WOWs were not always available when they were needed and they are very expensive, we determined that it just made sense to add more fixed computers for easy access. And, we could afford to replace these computers 1.5 times for the same price as purchasing the required number of workstation on wheels.

Additionally, computers are relatively inexpensive (when compared to staff time) and there is a real patient safety benefit to having fast access to electronic medical records. We are confident that this decision will positively impact both efficiency and patient safety. And, plans are ready in motion to retrofit the existing patient care floors with a workstation model like the one that will be used in the new Patient Tower.