Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine recently named Avera Health to the 2007 Most Wired listing and 25 Most Wireless lists. Avera is the only organization in the nation to achieve most wired for nine consecutive years. A very impressive accomplishment and that's why it's this Avera Medical Minute.
Carrie Klinkhammer works on the second floor medical unit in Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. Neither she nor her colleagues are tethered to a wire anymore. Now they walk the COW (Computer on Wheels) from room to room with vital information at their fingertips. The entire campus is all wireless.
Jim Burkett is the Director of Technology Services at Avera. He says, "Having wireless capability like this lets nurses, caregivers and all the folks involved can take their own devices around with them and be able to enter this, on the fly, without having to worry about the nearest PC. It just frees everything up." Avera is also on it's way to providing up to 400 PDA's (Personal Digital Assistance tools). Burkett says, "They can get their patient list, get their vital signs, get lab results and you are good to go. It works anywhere on campus."
Avera has also extended that service to patients and visitors. When Roger Koole was first admitted in September of 2006 for a brain tumor, the hospital wasn't wireless. When he came back for a stem cell transplant it was. He and his wife Karen were thrilled. They say it just made their stay a lot for productive. " Roger says, " I'm grateful for the opportunity. That doesn't mean I'm on the computer the whole time but it gives me the chance to see what people are talking about. I can check my emails, investments and so on. I am also very grateful to the doctors and nurses and staff who took such good care of me."
When we interviewed Roger he was on his 22nd day after his last surgery. One day off the critical list. His prognosis is good and the tumor is gone. He will come back to the Avera Cancer Institute once a month for maintenance chemo therapy which takes about 4 hours. And if he wants, he can bring his PC with him.
The rural sites and clinics in the Avera Network are also in various stages of going wireless.
If you have questions call 877-AT-AVERA or visit this website: www.averamckennan.org