After the official launch of its “Patient Tracker” program last month, family and friends of surgical patients at Richmond University Medical Center now have the ability to track their loved one’s progress from their mobile phone.
“We want our patients and their loved ones to feel like family when they come to Richmond University Medical Center for care,” the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, Dr. Daniel J. Messina, said. “From quality, state-of-the-art technology and procedures, to providing simple services like patient tracking, it all comes down to ensuring the best patient experience a person can have when they come through our doors.”
The program, which is activated when the patient is being prepped for surgery, sends texts in real time about any procedure’s progress at the same time the information is entered into the hospital’s internal patient tracking system. Individuals receiving the text messages do not need to be on hospital grounds to receive messages and patients can select more than one individual to receive updates. Messages such as “the surgery/procedure has started,” and “your family member/friend has arrived in recovery” help keep concerned parties in the loop.
“In the past, families would have to wait for doctors to descrub and come out of the OR to hear news about their loved one,” explained Nick Szymanski, RUMC’s vice president of IT and the hospital’s Chief Information Officer. “Now you can find out the patient’s status as soon as it’s documented in their electronic medical record.”
For RUMC, it’s just one of the many innovative technological advances currently being instituted. The hospital’s dietary program was recently streamlined into an iPad application which reduced a decent amount of paper usage and allowed RUMC’s nutritionists to better monitor each patients’ dietary limitations.
“We’ve found that this new dietary practice allows greater interaction,” reported Alex Lutz, RUMC’s director of public relations and marketing. “The menu is individualized according to each patient’s dietary restrictions and doctors can now monitor calorie intake and make adjustments accordingly.”
An app that coordinates with the hospital’s bariatric program was also introduced this year, allowing physicians to input a fitness and nutrition regimen. Patients can use the app in accordance with their FitBit or Apple Watch and doctors can monitor their progress.
“The reaction was huge from both the patients and the doctors,” Lutz said. “This was a ground-breaking addition to this developing program.”
The hospital also launched a general services app in 2019, allowing patients to pay their bill through a secure patient portal and access all hospital services that are linked to RUMC’s website. The unveiling of this tech will coordinate with the opening of the hospital’s new emergency department in 2020.
“We are currently expanding to meet the emergency care needs of Staten Island,” Lutz concluded. “Our new cutting edge emergency department will be a 35,000 square foot two-story structure with all of the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and innovation. The introduction of all of this technology is part of our long-term modernization plan.”