Another experience at the ER

by Hans on 2008/11/18

Unfortunately, I had another experience with the health care system recently – well, not me, specifically, but my dad. He was taken to the ER and so I spent a few hours waiting with him.

The interesting thing was to see Credit Valley Hospital’s new ER. As always, they had the mobile computer stations, but what was fascinating was how little the nurses used them. The nurses spent most of their time documenting on coloured forms which were either stapled together or kept together via clipboard.

Some of the biomedical devices were fascinating too. There was a device that monitored the blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and a few other clinical measures that I couldn’t make out. My dad had something connected to his index finger with some sort of light/laser that presumably measured blood sugar. What was most annoying was that some sort of alarm on the device kept going off every two minutes or so. I tried to make sense of the display, but to my untrained eye, many of the values weren’t very meaningful. I had a chance to watch a few nurses make adjustments to the device and it was very interesting to watch the nurses navigate through the multiple levels of menus using a dial. My friends and colleagues at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation might be interested in some of the usability/human computer interaction issues. Nevertheless, the sad thing was that this biomedical device was a stand-alone device not connected to any other (as far as I could).

The staff were all very nice, but having worked in the ehealth area for quite some time, I wonder how we can get the indivudal clinicians involved with ehealth. One of the challenges that seem very apparent to me is that using technology is foreign to the daily work process of the clinical environment. Seems like there is much work to be done to get clinicians to adopt ehealth.

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