May 11, 2021

Touchscreen Technology Breaks Down Healthcare’s “Invisible Wall”
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Touchscreen Technology Breaks Down Healthcare’s “Invisible Wall”

Touchscreen Technology Breaks Down Healthcare’s “Invisible Wall”

In the more than a decade since the federal government spent billions of dollars to speed up the implementation of electronic medical records, the changes have been nothing short of remarkable. Developers have worked hard to “mistake-proof” the system, cutting back significantly on the opportunities for human error. Physicians give orders electronically, eliminating mistakes from reading illegible handwriting. Nurses scan barcodes to make sure they are giving the correct dosage of a medication to the right patient.

But the technology required to make EMRs possible is also driving a wedge between patients and caregivers. When a doctor turns away to type notes into a laptop or when a nurse wheels in a medical cart that obscures their view, patients report feeling that EMRs were “a barrier to communication with healthcare providers.” One expert described the situation as putting up “an invisible wall between patients and their caregivers.”

Patients aren’t the only ones that are dissatisfied with EMRs. A study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine found that half of physicians believe that EMRs detract from the clinical care they provide their patients. Nurses are more positive about EMRs, but they agree there are pain points. A study by Dominican University found that 52% of nurses have to spend more time logging patient records in EMR systems.

Both patients and caregivers agree that EMRs are leading to better medical care in general. What’s becoming apparent is that the problem with EMRs is the way they’re designed.

John Glaser, Executive in Residence at Harvard Medical School, said it’s clear that EMRs need to transition from a focus on supporting clinical transactions to a focus on delivering information to the provider and the patient.

The answer may lie with Elo’s latest generation of touchscreens — the same technology that in the past few years has helped revolutionized the customer experience in restaurants and retail stores. These devices speed up the workflow, giving valuable time back to clinicians. They enable more efficient interaction with patients, addressing questions and concerns to help them feel better connected to their healthcare.

Imagine that instead of a medical cart loaded down with equipment, a nurse enters a patient’s room with a touchscreen device. There’s no longer a physical barrier between patient and provider, so there’s much more face-to-face communication. Information on the device can now be shared directly with the patient rather than being hidden from view.

Working alongside software companies like Epic, which manages the medical records of more than half of all patients in the U.S., Elo has been reimagining the hospital room of the future. Instead of a white board mounted on the wall, Elo’s generously sized touchscreen display enables a nurse or doctor to pull up information about the patient. For example, if the results of a patient’s lab tests have just become available, a clinician could share the results on the screen. A surgeon preparing for a procedure might call up a CT scan and circle an area they want to discuss.

Another place where Elo’s touchscreens can simplify the workflow is the nursing station, where they can be used to manage patient flow, and simplify shift changes. Elo devices can speed patient check-in or make sure patients’ prescriptions are waiting at the pharmacy when they arrive. In fact, every step along the way touchscreens can help enhance a patient’s experience.