Hand Held Computers Go to Surgery
Nurses at Miami Children's Hospital are now recording patient information into hand held personal data assistants (PDAs), rather than writing the information onto paper sheets. Once the data is entered into the PDA, it immediately moves by a wireless modem to a network server for storage on a web site that is password protected. The patient's information is accessible to doctors and health care providers. Entering the information into the PDA is generally more readable than most physicians' written scrawls and poses less room for errors in prescriptions, as well. It is also easy for physicians to consult an electronic drug reference manual to check for drug information and possible interactions. The hospital is also using software from Allscripts Healthcare Solutions that compares a patient's medical history and current prescriptions with the new prescription being entered into the PDA. The software indicates mistakes in quantities and possible drug incompatibility with a red frowning face symbol, which helps eliminate many common entry errors. Once entered into the software, the prescription is recorded in the patient's record on the web site and then faxed to a pre-designated pharmacy.