Practice Economics

Digital Schedule Boards Improve Outcomes at South Carolina Hospitals



The Greenville (S.C.) Health System in 2011 instituted a unique patient tracking and surgery scheduling system developed with Integrated Business Systems and Services, also based in South Carolina. The new system, called OR-Max, replaces the ubiquitous, giant dry-erase schedule board with digital displays. The system is connected to pre- and post-op departments, as well as to another electronic board in the family waiting areas. A radio frequency identification number assigned to each new patient tracks the patient’s status through the perioperative process. Text messages update status changes to staff.

“The display boards operate like arrival and departure boards at an airport,” says Gilbert Ritchie, PhD, director of anesthesia and perfusion services. “Instead of a flight number, staff follows a case number” as they watch for status changes.

OR-Max helps to pinpoint delays, facilitates rescheduling, improves workflow, and increases patient satisfaction while reducing costs, according to the health system. GHS says it has seen a 13% increase in staff productivity under the digital scheduling system.

Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in San Francisco


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