I’ve practically been living in Suburban hospital for the past 2 weeks for personal reasons and found myself subconsciously paying attention to how the technology was used there. I noticed some good things and many things I believe hospitals, especially “top-notch” ones, could do better! Whenever critiquing a hospital, I want to emphasize that we are all grateful for hospital staff and the work they do on a daily basis. Saving lives is the toughest job on this planet. So this post is not knocking hospitals but more on improving what they already do.
First thing, I noticed that phone reception in the hospital was atrocious. I mean really atrocious! It was always hit or miss on getting phone calls or making them also. You had to find the right spot of a room or the hospital to get reception and be able to use your phone. Not the best time to have your phone crapping out when you need to get in touch with loved ones at such a time. Text messaging worked better even if sometimes texts were delayed. I am not sure if this was because I use Google Voice for text messaging or not. I sometimes had to go outside just to have a conversation. I think cell phone towers need to be in close range of such facilities to make sure people can stay in touch in such situations. Or get a wireless card or mobile hotspot but I am not sure how efficient that would even be. By the way, I am talking about Sprint mostly because that’s my carrier. However, AT&T and T-Mobile were about the same or worse. Verizon was the best in this case but I won’t get into details on why they are on this post.
Now, your cellphone reception sucks so you assume you can switch to the hospital WiFi and you’ll be fine right? Nope. The WiFi was sometimes even worse than my cellphone reception. Seriously!! My little brother who’s good in IT stuff said they probably need to rework their access points and routers to be more efficient. This is something hospitals, especially upper echelon ones like Suburban Hospital, need to get on point. A hospital staff member mentioned herself that she cannot stand the WiFi at Suburban and that it was too unreliable to do any real work there.
Now this is a tricky topic and it is something that I hear is being implemented in hospitals already. Doctors in hospitals are very very busy and it is sometimes hard to be able to keep with all patients assigned to them especially on crazy busy days. My thought is when a patient is out of ICU and coherent, all hospitals should implement a Skype type communications to every room to communicate with their patients if they are unable to physically attend to them on that specific day or night. That’s a way that you can make the patient feel more comfortable that you are thinking about them and keeping them up to date on their prognosis or status. The expense to do this is actually pretty minimal once it is initially setup up. The cost will mainly come from bandwidth traffic.
Alright, this is maybe nit-picking but there has to be a better way to move a patient from one bed or room to another. Don’t ya think?