PatientTrak provides faster access to information for Nova Scotia emergency department teams

Halifax NS - Emergency departments at Nova Scotia’s eight regional hospitals and IWK Health now have digital dashboards, making it easier and faster to provide care to patients.

New software called PatientTrak provides clinical teams with an overview of the number of patients in the various areas of the emergency department in real time (e.g., triage, registration, waiting room, etc.) and informs clinical care decisions.

As patients arrive at an emergency department, they are entered into the PatientTrak system, immediately recording wait time, health concern, and status. As data is entered at various stages of a patient’s visit, it is available on a centrally located digital whiteboard which can also be accessed from any emergency department computer. For example, details about treatments already received by a patient and what tests or treatments for which they may be waiting.

The digital whiteboard has replaced traditional physical whiteboards that would previously have been the hub for patient information in the emergency department. In the past, to access current patient information, clinical staff would have had to check a whiteboard and/or log into the clinical information system.

“Compared to a traditional whiteboard, the digital whiteboard gives us a better sense of where the patient is in their progression through the emergency department,” said Dr. Everett Fuller, emergency department site lead, Cape Breton Regional Hospital. “It also raises awareness about the patient’s status and supports better communication within the care team.”

PatientTrak also offers custom clinical alerts relevant to the patient (e.g., allergies, interpreter or education required, pending tests, etc.). For hospitals that have a pharmacy on site, an alert can be created to notify emergency department pharmacists that there is a patient medication requisition pending, the room where the patient is located and the attending physician. This removes manual processes that previously may have taken longer and allows the physician to focus more on the patient rather than following up on requested treatments.

For patients, PatientTrak offers improved privacy. With traditional whiteboards, more patient identifiable information would be displayed, which could be seen by other patients. With the digital whiteboard, only the first three characters of the patient’s name is shown on the large screen; however, a patient’s full details can be accessed on emergency department computers by authorized health care team members.

“This is an important step forward in supporting clinicians and improving the experience of Nova Scotians that come to us for care,” says Scott McKenna, Chief Information Officer for Nova Scotia Health. “Most importantly, there is also an opportunity to realize improved patient health outcomes as the result of physicians having faster access to information needed for clinical care decisions.”

Improved access to timely patient information increases awareness of patient wait times at the various levels of care and has the potential to streamline patient flow through emergency departments and improve the experience of both clinical care teams and patients.

“We are excited to see the improvement in workflow visibility and reduced wait time Nova Scotia Health has experienced while using our system. Emergencies require fast response and real-time information and PatientTrak delivers this for staff and patients,” said PatientTrak CEO James Hermann.

– 30 –