Patient Care and ICU Visitors

What do you do if your mother, sister, husband or father lands in an ICU? Do you stay or do you go? There are more than 5 million sufferers admitted to an ICU a year. The ICU is a special unit where sufferers who have severe and deadly illnesses are given patient care by specialized doctors and nursing employees. These sufferers require constant monitoring and support with unique devices and medications to maintain normal bodily processes. The majority of U.S. healthcare centers have restrictions on visitation rights. Close relatives need open visitation rights because it decreases patient anxiety and improves their comfort.

Intensive care patientMost adult intensive care units have some type of limited viewing hours that limit the number of family members who can visit and the time they can stay at the room. Across ICUs there is no standardization in viewing guidelines. Moreover, there may even be different visitation rights guidelines in various ICUs in the same hospital! Close relatives can be limited to 10 minutes of visitation rights every hour or be allowed to visit any time they want. Also, how healthcare center employees implement and understand the same visitation rights guidelines can be dissimilar. This variability is a cause of pressure for nursing employees, families and sufferers. Hospitals are attempting for excellence and are now focused on family-centered patient care. Close relatives play an essential part in the ICU individual’s recovery, so an essential part of family center care is open visitation rights. Patients place a high value on having family members at their room, offering them a sense of security in a highly technological innovation driven atmosphere.

The ICU is a stressful place full of sounds, unknown people and devices. Having a familiar face at the room can decrease individual pressure and duration of stay and help respond to questions in the ICU. Also, it improves individual quality, safety and satisfaction. To see relatives, it improves communication with healthcare employees, allows family members to be involved with patient care and contributes to better understanding of the healthcare world. In addition, families cannot affect the functioning of the ICU. Infection disease precautions may be needed that can restrict visitation rights. If an ICU patient is in a shared room and this can happen, guests may be asked to leave temporarily if immediate lifesaving measures are required or sensitive conversations need to occur with another patient.

Improving Patient Care with Technology

Citizens at the Kane Regional Centers will soon have a new friend in the physician’s office: “Telly,” a tele-presence digi-cam rig that can connect to a remote doctor and gather healthcare details during exams. The rig is part of a UPMC-run program called RAVEN or Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Using evidence-based Interventions for Nursing Facilities in Western Pennsylvania, which is financed by a $19 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

patient_care“Bringing tele-medicine to the Kane Centers will enhance the speed and performance of patient care with which residents receive healthcare consultations when there is a change in their health,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “It will also slow up the need to transport residents to a medical center or E.R., which is difficult for some of them.” “Telly” will not substitute doctors, who will still perform routine exams. It’ll only be used when an individual’s condition changes, along with a shift in breathing, heart function or pain. The robot-like rig will be monitored by physicians and can examine the eyes, ears, nasal area, neck, respiratory system, heart, stomach, skin, arms and legs and neurological system.

The rig looks like a pc monitor on wheels with a digi-cam secured on top. It comes equipped with tools like a wireless stethoscope, which can pass on details to a doctor at another location. Close relatives will be able to listen in via PC and telephone. “We recognize that a patient’s doctor or health professional specialist is sometimes not available at the skilled nursing facility to assess and treat the citizen when there is a change in their usual health,” Kane Executive Director Dennis Biondo said. “The goal is to provide ongoing access to high-quality patient care and health-care professionals.”

Mobile Devices in Patient Care

Many physicians operating in medical centers use mobile devices in patient care, according to individual reviews by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and Spyglass Consulting Group, MobiHealthNews reviews. For the second annual HIMSS Mobile Technological advancement Study, which was provided by Qualcomm Life, scientists asked 180 IT experts operating at medical care facilities. The review discovered that about half of interviewed IT experts believe that the use of mobile technology will significantly affect patient care. It also discovered that:

  • patient_care_mobile_devices45% of participants said physicians at their company use mobile devices to gather information at a patient’s room, up from 30% last year;
  • 38% said physicians use mobile devices to read bar codes, up from 23% last year;
  • 34% said physicians monitor information from mobile devices, up from 27% last season; and
  • 27% said physicians use the camera on their cell phone to capture individual information, up from 13% last season.

About 25% of participants said that all individual information taken by clinicians’ mobile devices are incorporated with the individual’s electronic health record. About three-quarters of interviewed IT experts said they expect their company to flourish its use of mobile health gadgets in the future, with tablets seeing the greatest growth forecasts. In related news, an individual review from Spyglass Consulting Group discovered that 69% of interviewed hospital nursing staff said they use their mobile devices for personal and clinical emails while on the job. The review also discovered that: 96% of interviewed nursing staff said that first generation tablets did not work well for bedside nursing because of durability concerns, information entry limitations and other issues and 25% said they were disappointed with the quality and reliability of their facility’s wireless network.

Improving Patient Care

According to the DEA, it is now legal to deliver medications for controlled substances digitally.  By following DEA requirements for EPCS, physicians have the option to digitally sign and deliver electronic prescriptions for controlled substances to certified drug stores.  While some suppliers still may not be fully aware of this new ability, others are enjoying the advantages. The obvious advantages associated with EPCS adopting include enhancing work-flow, creating complete EHRs, removing the prospective for stolen or changed prescription blanks, decreasing drugstore callbacks on illegibility, avoiding “pharmacy shopping,” and increasing overall individual safety and patient care. These factors, along with the problem of fighting the prescribed drug addiction plague in the United States, will likely be the power in extensive EPCS adoption.  While these features will take center stage, it’s important not to ignore the impact that this new form of controlled substance prescribing will have on patient care.

patient_care_and_prescriptionMany physicians and pharmacy technician already understand the severity of this new prescription ability in enhancing individual well-being.  At a time when Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and patient quality reporting dominate medical care headlines, there is no question that the move towards a patient-centered medical care model is in full swing.

In states where EPCS for Schedule II medicines is legal, experts who are dedicated to psychiatry, pain management, or emergency medicine will likely develop a unique admiration for this new technology. When one views the regularity with which pain management physicians and psychiatrists recommend Schedule II medicines, the amount is impressive.  Medications like Adderall, Oxycontin, Ritalin, and Morphine receive a lot of negative press because of their potential for misuse and diversion, but what many don’t realize is that there is a very large market with genuine medical need that require these medicines to go about everyday living. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) requires, with very limited exemption, that Schedule II medications be written on original prescription forms from the specialist.  These medications must be sent to the drugstore, are not refillable and may not be called in or faxed.  While significantly decreasing the possibility for disruption, these conditions make significant difficulties for sufferers who regularly fill these medications.