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The Emergency Room is a critical point of access to the healthcare provider and offers an essential service to the public community. It is also the highest risk area in a hospital where there maybe infections and disease outbreaks. Patients may arrive in hoards or in trickles and can be highly unpredictable. Those who do arrive are in need of urgent medical care, without any medical history available to the paramedical staff. The ER is a unique environment in the sense that the clinical team may have to build a rapport with patients who they may potentially not see again under unpredictable and uncomfortable circumstances. It is an environment of unscheduled demand, perpetual shift changes, and caregiver handoffs where treatment includes numerous operational steps that must be accomplished under time constraints that can be made more challenging by overcrowded conditions. All of these factors may lead to sub-optimal outcomes which later may be found deficient or lack of information integration among the various hospital departments.

Typical Issues faced in an ER Room: 1> Long Waiting Times, 2> Overcrowding – worsening the patient outcomes, 3> 1 and 2 causes greater patient dissatisfaction 4> difficulty retaining paramedics and other staff, 5> high risk area for infections and diseases outbreaks 6> medical errors, 7> risk of violence directed towards staff, 8> negative work environment, 9> lack of productivity of staff, 10> lack of coordination amongst staff.

Fundamentally an Hospital Management System (HMS) in the Emergency Room is expected to 1> facilitate the delivery of patient care, 2> conform to relevant operational, financial and clinical data, 3> maintain interoperability standards, 4> comply with applicable security and privacy concerns, 4> easy accessibility to data.

Essentially, the goal of the HMS is to have all necessary electronic information for patient care available at every computer or portable device in the ER. Avoiding frequent access to the patient hard copy files is wasteful and inefficient and delays decision making in an environment where every second counts. Investing in an HMS can improve patient care, quality of care, staff productivity and efficiency, improved turnaround times, increase in patient safety, decreasing errors of omission and commission; increasing space utilization and a satisfying work environment; improved client satisfaction and employee satisfaction; reducing operating costs; decreasing inefficiency and redundancy; increasing standardization and achieve recognition as a progressive workplace.

Posted by Arun Joseph Varghese

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