It’s finished. The new Shawn Jenkin’s Children’s Hospital stands tall for all to see. It’s a welcomed addition to the Charleston skyline — a place where miracles will happen.
As construction workers complete their final touches, we patiently await the official opening, slated for 2020. But there is no one more excited about the opening than the staff who will be moving over from the current MUSC Children’s Hospital.
The new hospital will, of course, provide improvements on how they deliver care. Besides it all being so new, the clinicians and families that helped plan the building put an incredible amount of thought into how to make their jobs more efficient, more streamlined and more convenient for patients
A big part of that undertaking was the technology, which was blended into almost every aspect of the new hospital.
Amelia Little, nurse manager of pediatric critical care, said that the staff moving over to the new hospital completed courses on how to use the screens that will be in every room and other devices, such as the iPads that will be outside every room.
“There have been dozens of sessions to practice and learn about the new technology,” she said. “We are excited to finally have devices that will match the level of care we provide.”
Dr. S. David McSwain, chief medical information officer for the Medical University of South Carolina, was on the team that planned how the screens would be integrated for easy use by staff members.
They utilize the GetWell network and integrate other technology like Apple devices, the Epic electronic health record and Vidyo for telehealth connections into the rooms.
The screens in each room, except the Emergency Department and NICU rooms, look like 43-inch flat-screen TVs at first glance.
“They do provide TV for entertainment, but they do so much more,” Dr. McSwain explained.
Controlled by a remote at the bedside or the iPad provided to each patient, these screens will not only allow children and families to watch TV and movies, but they can also access the internet on the large screens.
Clinicians will also be able to display medical information from their iPads on the screens, including laboratory studies, medication lists, diagnoses, X-rays and other imaging like ultrasounds or CT scans.
“We can bring up the images on the screens in the room for a better look to go over it with families and patients,” Dr. McSwain said. “Using mobile devices allows us to bring the care team into the room during rounds and will keep everyone more engaged and informed about the patient’s care.”
One of the other unique aspects of the screens is their telehealth capability. The camera set up on top of the screen is no average computer camera. It provides a wide view of the room, but MUSC doctors will actually have the capability to take control of the camera from their office or clinic and zoom in on the monitors connected to the patient or zoom in on the patients themselves.
“When you have a small child sitting in the bed, it’s important to be able to zoom in for a closer look if needed,” Dr. McSwain explained. “This will allow MUSC physicians from across town or across the state to be able to connect with the patient whenever necessary.”
A pop-up notification appears on the screen when the doctor or other clinician wants to connect with the patient. The patient or family member will then have the option to accept the telehealth meeting at that time.
“We have to ensure the patient’s privacy, so the camera only works if the patient or family accepts the call,” Dr. McSwain said.
He added that this method will be more efficient because the patient won’t have to wait for the doctor to drive from a faraway clinic for a personal visit.
Not only that, but this telehealth connection can actually improve patient/doctor relationships, according to Dr. McSwain: “This will allow for that face-to-face interaction, even if the doctor is miles away. And it will decrease the amount of time patients and families have to wait for a consult. So you actually get a closer connection with the doctor.”
And grandma can even call in for a one-on-one meeting with the child or to sit in on a meeting with the doctor.
Educational videos about the child’s diagnosis and treatment are also available through the GetWell network. There will be apps for video games and even a way to see the menu in the cafeteria.
In addition, the lighting, heating and air conditioning in the room can be controlled from the screen.
“You can even make a request for pet therapy through this system,” Dr. McSwain said.
Before anyone on the care team enters the room, they can view information about the patient on the iPads that are posted on the wall just outside the door. Information includes the patient’s name, care team and isolation status and automatically updates from the Epic electronic health record whenever a patient is checked in.
The patient’s iPad will be attached to the bedside table and will be integrated with the GetWell network as well, but on a smaller scale than the large screen on the wall in the room.
This system of carefully integrated technology is unique to the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. The team of technical professionals, doctors, patient advocates and other clinicians worked together to make this a virtual experience unique among all hospitals in the United States. Many of the team members visited other children’s hospitals in the country and found similar technology in the rooms, but none of them have integrated the technology as completely as MUSC has.
“The functionality represents the research and work that was put in across the institution as a whole,” Dr. McSwain said. “These are unique innovations crafted to the needs of our staff, patients and families.”
Little commented that Apple products have been convenient for the education aspect since most of the staff already knew how to use them. She said each nurse will be issued an iPhone during their shift that patients can use to reach them rather than with the traditional “call bell.”
Dr. McSwain and Little agreed that this is important due to the size of the new hospital.
“This will be a much larger space than what we are used to, so we could be further away from our patients at any given time,” Little said. “The iPhones will be the best mechanism to let us know our patients need us and to be able to get back to them quickly.”
There also is a unique experience for outpatient check-in, which can be done at kiosks on the first floor. Similar to the check-in kiosks at the airport, this convenience will make going to appointments, which for many families can be quite often, quicker and easier.
“The kiosks will be for in and out appointments,” Little said. “Families can check in at the kiosk rather than waiting at the front desk. They will then be able to just go up to the floor they need to for their appointment without the hassle of paperwork or a line at the counter.”
The kiosks will also be equipped to scan insurance cards, take payment and print receipts. The screens can even be lowered for people in wheelchairs. The software is called Welcome and the equipment is a part of the Epic module.
“They have thought of everything,” Little said with excitement. “The building is meant to be a gift for the community of South Carolina. Every aspect was thought out with so much care. We just can’t wait to get in there.”
By Theresa Stratford