Friday, October 14, 2005

Tagged From Day One

Crittenton Hospital Medical Centre, has activated two high-tech systems that will improve the safety and care of patients as well as information access for visitors with the assistance of CareTech Solutions, a Michigan-based provider of information technology and healthcare information management (HIM) solutions for hospitals and health systems.

In the hospital's pediatrics and mother-baby units, an advanced system has been implemented for ensuring the safety of babies, helping to ensure that a baby is matched with its own mother when brought to a room from the nursery and that only authorized individuals move a baby through the units.

Called the "Hugs and Kisses" infant protection system, manufactured by VeriChip, this tracking technology involves a tiny RFID (radio-frequency identification) radio transmitter that is placed on the baby's ankle. With a wireless system in place throughout the area, "Hugs" polls the baby's monitor every seven seconds to determine the exact location of the infant in relation to an electronic floor plan that is observed by hospital staff.

The "Kisses" mother/infant matching system technology utilizes the RFID device on the baby and a small quarter sized tag on the mother that are bound together at the baby's birth. This system prevents the risk of mother/baby mismatch by playing a lullaby when the mother and baby are within arms reach to confirm a match. The "Hugs and Kisses" systems also support multiple births.

Moreover, both systems help prevent abduction of an infant, a problem resulting in more than 100 abductions from healthcare facilities in the past 22 years. If a baby is held more than ten seconds outside a door, or if a baby passes through a door without having been released, an alert sounds in the unit to warn nurses. The monitoring system is removed from the mother and baby when they are discharged.

While "Hugs and Kisses" is designed to provide constantly updated information on each baby's location and proper matching with its mother, another system implemented at Crittenton by CareTech is helping visitors remain updated on information from the World Wide Web. All areas of the hospital now provide wireless access to the Internet. Visitors and families in public areas and in patient rooms can go online via their laptops to keep others up to date on a patient's progress through email, to stay in touch with news developments, to retrieve medical and other information from online sites and to use the Internet for a full range of resources. This fall, Internet kiosks will be installed in public areas of the hospital for additional convenience.

Additionally, cell phone use will be permitted in certain areas of the hospital, allowing family and friends to remain in contact with one another. "Our top priorities at Crittenton are safety, comfort and communication for patients and their families," said Crittenton Hospital Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Lynn Orfgen. "We feel the security and peace of mind afforded us by CareTech's adaptation of VeriChip's technology for Crittenton, along with the information access now available through our wall-to-wall wireless access, will provide an exceptional level of comfort among all who stay, visit and work here."

CareTech is known widely for the innovative solutions it develops and/or implements for healthcare systems across the country, ranging from advanced networking technology to forward-looking electronic medical records that help to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.

"Crittenton is offering a new standard of care through its adoption of this RFID technology and other wireless applications," said CareTech President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Giordano. "The board and management of Crittenton should be commended for embracing technology to its fullest in advancing the well-being and comfort of its patients."

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