BC’s Interior Health upgrades ER
VERNON, B.C. – Health Services
Minister George Abbott and Okanagan-Vernon MLA Tom Christensen announced
that the emergency department at Vernon Jubilee Hospital is one of five
hospitals in Interior Health that will get an electronic patient
tracking system that records a patient’s journey through emergency.
“Electronic white boards in emergency departments provide busy health
professionals with the most current status of each patient,” said
Abbott. “This improved communication allows staff to prioritize patient
care at a glance.”
The board at Vernon Jubilee Hospital cost $164,000 and provides all of
the information required to properly assess and treat a patient. Triage
level, bed number, symptoms and updates on lab orders are just a few of
the details available to staff, eliminating the need to manually track
down patient updates.
“Vernon residents will benefit from this innovative technology,” said
Christensen. “Timely and accurate information among emergency department
staff translates into faster decision-making and treatment of individual
patients based on need.”
“The program is directly linked into Interior Health’s Meditech system,
which updates information in real time,” said Dr. Manish Bhatt,
emergency department head, Vernon Jubilee Hospital. “The tracking board
system records every step of patient care with a time stamp and
automatically flags when a patient may be waiting too long for
The emergency department patient tracking system has been successfully
implemented in other hospitals, including Vancouver General and Kelowna
The new boards are being funded by the Province’s Transformation Fund. A
total of $771,000 was allocated to the project at five hospitals across
Interior Health, including: Kootenay Boundary Regional, Royal Inland,
East Kootenay Regional, Penticton Regional and Vernon Jubilee. The board
at Royal Inland Hospital became operational earlier this month, with the
remainder to be introduced in February and March of this year.
“A further benefit to the electronic system is its ability to capture
emergency department data for historical reporting and analysis,” said
Joanne Konnert, chief operating officer Okanagan, Interior Health. “The
data gathered from this system will provide us with the opportunity to
continue to improve patient flow in emergency departments throughout
In the February 2008 Budget Speech, government announced a three-year,
$300-million Transformation Fund for British Columbia’s health system to
help drive change in the province’s technology, procurement, information
and service delivery systems. This tracking system is one of many
projects to receive funding that was allocated to a wide range of health
authority initiatives that focus on increasing efficiency in the
delivery of medical services.
Electronic Patient Tracking System
The emergency department management application is a visual patient
tracking system. It monitors the emergency patients and their wait times
through their entire length of stay in the department.
The application assists emergency department staff in the critical task
of managing patients efficiently and simultaneously from multiple
locations. It captures the nurse and physician initial assessment times
in real time as soon as staff sign up for their patients.
The quick registration routine allows getting emergency patients into
the system quickly by recording the minimum number of data fields
necessary. Patients show up on the board, even before being fully
Patients in the department are displayed on two 42-inch LCD electronic
boards that refresh patients’ information every 15 seconds. The boards
display patients’ names, bed numbers, symptoms, lab and diagnostic
imaging requests, physician and nurse initials, triage levels and how
long they have been in the department. Boards are only visible to
emergency department staff.
Diagnostic procedures can be generated and communicated to appropriate
diagnostic services. The dynamic integration with order management
allows emergency department staff to get visual notification as soon as
diagnostic tests are completed. Diagnostic results can then be accessed
with a single click from the patient tracker.