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ment and several integrations to key systems like the GE Centricity scheduling and registration system. The system also provides metric re- porting of patient care milestones to help PacMed monitor patient fl ow, interactions and other key performance indicators (KPIs). Implementation, training and ongoing support were included.


HT Snowday is chief technology offi cer for Versus Technology. For more information on Versus Technology: rsleads.com/008ht-205


PacMed staff was able to justify the expense in several


ways. From a planning and space perspective, they were able to build more exam rooms by making smaller reception areas and narrower hallways. From a supply perspective, they order fewer supplies since they know where to fi nd them. They also do not lose items, because each is equipped with a fi nder tag. From a staffi ng perspective, they were able to hire fewer RNs, while maintaining the highest patient satisfac- tion scores in the company: 85 percent of patients report an excellent visit overall. “We were able to reduce a large number of phone calls,” notes Dr. Daniel. “Our call center has access to Versus and can ‘see’ where we are and send the calls accordingly. By simply answering the phone when the call comes in, dealing with the issue in the moment, we have dramatically reduced the generation of phone messages, time spent on phone tag and the delay in patient care that could affect patient quality and safety.”


exposed to chickenpox or measles, staff had to notify a waiting room full of patients when, in fact, none were in close enough contact for exposure. This can cause patient anxiety. Versus can also be used as a communication tool for immediate help. For example, if a patient has a contrast reaction in the imaging area, the team can notify the physician or response team through Versus by pressing the button on the badge. Or, if a patient needs assistance in the bathroom, they can press the badge button and staff will know immediately where the patient is.


Dr. Brett Daniel, medical director at Canyon Park Clinic, discusses the Versus solution with Dr. Tasneem Lalani, a radiologist at Inland Imaging.


Minimizing infection, maximizing safety Because patients go directly to a clean exam room, medical assistants are able to spend more time managing the quality of care for patients instead of just rooming patients. “Cutting wait times and eliminating the waiting room has served to enhance patient satisfaction, but it also helps prevent contamination,” says Eremic. “We have all sat in waiting rooms with other patients who were coughing and sneezing! With Versus, we know where patients are and how long they’ve been here – even when they’re behind a closed door in an exam room – so they don’t have to wait in a waiting room.” Eremic adds, “From a more direct safety aspect,


Versus allows us to track potential exposed patients. If a patient comes into the clinic and is later diagnosed with an infectious illness, such as tuberculosis, mumps or chickenpox, we can run a simple report that shows us any patients or staff who were in close contact long enough to be potentially exposed. Doctors can then make informed treatment decisions for those individuals.” In the past, PacMed had to test more individuals for a potential TB exposure. And if patients were potentially


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“We were very satisfi ed with the implementation process,” explains Dr. Daniel. “There was some initial concern about switching to a model where patients room themselves in this 30,000-square-foot clinic, but we have had very few issues. In fact, one of our physiatrists said, ‘I had an 82-year-old man with dementia and ataxia who was able to fi nd his room just fi ne. So, I guess we’ll be OK!’ Like any new system, there were some issues that came up, [such as] people wanting more sensors here or there or a few minor programming blips. That said, we’ve been very impressed with how Versus helps us work through these issues. “When we added it all up, the RTLS made fi nancial sense,” says Dr. Daniel. “Most people seem to believe that an EMR will make their practice more effi cient. We see Versus as more critical to helping our effi ciency and improving our work-fl ow model. As we implement our new EMR system later this year, we feel we are set up to put it into our current work-fl ow model and move for- ward smoothly. At our clinics without Versus, it is going to be a much harder process.”


HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY August 2010 29


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