Two days in the hospital and what have I learned?

I’d like to first thank everyone that sent me a message, called or emailed. While the last two days have seen their fair share of emotion and concern, I’m hopeful that I will be discharged today and be able to get back to quasi-normal sometime in the near future. Crisis averted!

However, I wanted to take something from this hospital experience. And so, from a patient’s perspective, here are my observations and comments:

  1. I have been able to explore FIRST HAND the tremendous impact that HealthIT is having on the health care community, on patients and providers alike. In the San Diego hospital where I am currently residing, there are computers in each patient suite, providing access to health information across this health system. The labs that were ordered this morning….they are viewable on the computer in my room….the CT scan? oh yes……and as soon as a nurse or doc enters the room, I can ask for access to that information and receive it freely. How amazing is THAT?
  2. When comparing to previous experiences, one can absolutely notice the difference in productivity and knowledge that the staff has upon entering the room. There is no need to keep 10s of copies of medical records…everything is in one place, accessible from anywhere within the system. When a nurse comes into my suite, he/she already knows everything there is to know…and if there’s something they don’t know…it’s a click away! 
  3. With knowledge at the tip of their fingers, providers are now getting closer to the patient-centered care that everyone brags about. I was pleasantly surprised when my doctor was able to provide visual information bedside. Win!!
  4. Long live the patient portal. I just checked my vital information on the patient portal provided by this institution and was greeted by up-to-date info on weight, BP, heart rate, respiratory rate etc! Score!
Now, as with any processes in development, there will always be points of improvement across all levels of access (patient, provider, ancillary staff). For example, when new medications are prescribed, no alarm is given and no one is paged. The only way the RN can find out what medication I need is by accessing the EMR. I look forward to the day when on-call real-time medication tracking will become a reality.
I’d like to end this post with a picture I found quite entertaining. This is the “Faces’ Pain Scale that offers, as you can see, an extremely accurate way of identifying pain in patients……

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