UW Health Uses Bedside Technology to Improve Patient and Family Experience

Madison, Wisconsin - “Good morning, Dad.  Looks like Ben will be able to leave about 4 days from now, on Saturday.”


That’s the welcome message that might greet the user of a new tablet-based computer application at American Family Children’s Hospital – the use of which is set to expand to the new hospital campus at The American Center and ultimately, all UW Hospitals.


Last December, American Family Children’s Hospital became the first pediatric hospital in the nation (and the first hospital in Wisconsin) to go live with “MyChart Bedside,” a new Epic application that gives patients and their designated caregivers access to important information about their health, their care team, and what to expect during the hospital stay.


The program is currently being piloted on the fifth floor of the children’s hospital. Parents of hospitalized children receive tablet computers loaded with the MyChart Bedside application to use throughout their hospital stay. The application displays photos of the child’s care team; allows for messaging with the care team; displays the daily schedule; and provides access to key portions of the patient’s medical record, including a list of hospital medications, test results, patient education, and the anticipated discharge date. 


Dr. Shannon Dean, assistant professor of pediatrics and chief medical information officer for UW Health, said, “Good communication is really at the core of good care.  We are continually looking for innovative ways to use health technology to improve communication between providers and patients, thereby improving the patient and family experience and the quality of care we provide. We feel that MyChart Bedside has the potential to enhance communication and empower patients and we are therefore enthusiastic about its implementation. 


“Our goal, however, is not only to implement the technology but to also really understand its impact and effectiveness,” she added. To that end, UW Health built into the pilot program a survey of parents and staff to assess the application’s usefulness, impact on workload, communication, safety and quality of care. Initial results of the survey suggest that parents overall find the app easy to use, believe that it helps them monitor and understand the care of their child, and believe that it helps to improve the quality of hospital care.


“We have sought detailed feedback from parents and our staff about what works and what could be improved,” said Dr. Michelle Kelly, assistant professor of pediatrics and researcher at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement at UW-Madison.  “Overall, they really like being able to see who is caring for their child in the hospital. They also like having easy access to test results, vital-sign trends, their child’s daily agenda, and their child’s progress during the stay. Respondents have also given us information about what else they’d like to see on the application and tablet.  We have been very encouraged by the feedback we have received thus far.”


Hospital officials plan to offer the program at UW Health at The American Center, the new hospital and wellness campus that will open this summer on Madison’s east side.

Date Published: 02/25/2015

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