'Pre-Season Huddle' Offers Glimpse of UW Health at The American Center

Health Systems Engineer Heidi Menaker shares The American Center’s strategy for great care and a great patience experience. Madison, Wisconsin - In just under six months, staff members at UW Health at The American Center will welcome their first patients. And in February UW Health leaders invited staff to a "Pre-Season Huddle" for a peek at some of the innovative new programs and services that will be offered at the facility, as well as the opportunity to talk to experts one-on-one.


"It was great to visit with so many associates during the huddles and get to know more about them," says Wendy Horton, vice president for Performance Excellence and Integrated Operations at The American Center. "This is an exciting time for UW Health and I am excited for our collective future. This summer will be hard work, but also a ton of fun. I can't wait!"


Communication Technology


David Wilcher, business systems analyst for UW Health Information Services, explains the RFID communication technology that will connect patients and their care teams at The American Center.Innovative technology, already being piloted in some areas around the hospital and clinics, will take center stage at The American Center.

UW Health Information Services is working to implement ServiceConnection, the real-time radio frequency ID (RFID) system that connects patients to their care teams at all times. The system is currently in use at the Digestive Health Center and improves the patient experience and cuts down on clicks for providers.

"Right now, humans have to manually enter data to document when a patient arrives, when they've gone into an exam room and when the physician and nurse are physically with the patient," explains business systems director Lisa Woodward. "Now, that will all happen using data transmitted via RFID tags worn by patients and associates as they move through a visit."

The data can be used in many different ways: to trigger an alert if a patient has been waiting too long, for example, or to notify an anesthesiologist the patient is ready in the OR. The information can be exported to a digital chart outside a patient's room to communicate allergies or isolation status, the attending doctor or that the patient is mid-procedure somewhere else. Over time, the data can be analyzed to improve workflows.


"We're really excited to take this to the next level," Woodward says. "This technology gives us better data, but more importantly allows us to focus less on typing, and more on patients."

Remote Consults


Another type of equipment that will allow for better patient experience - and save time and money - are the telemedicine carts that will be in the Emergency Department and on each inpatient floor at The American Center.

This isn't just ordinary video conferencing, though that's one way these units will be used. Providers can also plug in a stethoscope or a high-resolution "exam cam," and transmit crystal-clear audio and images back to specialists at UW Hospital.

Rob Rohrer, a member of UW Health's Telehealth team, says this type of technology is especially important when minutes, even seconds, matter.


"Say someone presents at The American Center's Emergency Department with a possible stroke," he says. "A neurologist at the hospital could do a full exam of the patient just by using the cart, which means delivering the right kind of care as quickly as possible—something that's crucial with stroke."

Video conferencing also saves staff quite a bit of driving time, without compromising patient care. (It's a 25-minute trip one way from UW Hospital at 600 Highland Avenue with no traffic.)

"It's a growing technology a lot of people can use for just about anything you could imagine," Rohrer says.

Peak Performance


Sports Performance's Dave Knight (far left) talks about his program.The new sports performance program is a groundbreaking concept for southern Wisconsin, and even the region.


"There are some programs similar to ours around the country, but we're unique in the quality of our staff, and the ancillary services we can offer," explains Dave Knight, program manager of UW Health Sports Performance at The American Center.

The program is open to the general public, meaning visitors don't need to be UW Health patients or Badger all-stars to take advantage of the performance expertise.

Age-appropriate training is something else Knight says sets UW Health's program apart from many others. A 7-year-old might learn the fundamentals through play, he says - a very different type of training from what's available to high school students or elite athletes.

And all athletes, young and not-so-young, will have access to state-of-the-art performance facilities such as 13,000 square feet of the same Field Turf used at Camp Randall; a four-lane lap pool with reaction-time starting blocks and cameras above and below the water; and a full high-school regulation basketball/volleyball court modeled after the floor at the Kohl Center.

"The facility itself will be amazing," Knight says, "but what are most exciting to me are the resources that will be available to athletes of all skill levels, needs and ages."


For the latest information on UW Health Sports Medicine and Performance, visit uwsportsmedicine.org and connect with UW Health Sports on Facebook and Twitter.

Date Published: 03/03/2015

News tag(s):  american center

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