2005 News Stories

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Over 300 computers on wheels, or COWs (wireless, roving computers) will be in use at The Queen's Medical Center by the end of 2005. An additional 70 wireless notebooks will be added to clinicians' computing power. All patient care units will eventually have some form of wireless computers in addition to the conventional, stationary models already in place, effectively doubling computer access in most patient care areas. Wireless computer use at Queen's has been made possible by a fast, reliable-and secure-wireless network that covers over 600,000 square feet using 259 radio frequency access points.

But why COWs? There are big benefits for patients. Patient data will be timely and up-to-the-minute accurate, and be available to clinicians when and where it is needed. Orders will be placed as care decisions are made. The light, maneuverable COWs can be wheeled anywhere they are needed, including right next to the bedside. COWs will also pave the way for barcoded medication administration in 2006, adding an extra layer of accuracy to administered meds.

COWs will work hand-in-hand with a new, integrated, advanced computer system—scheduled to go live in January 2006—that will also provide major patient safety gains, including: strong clinical decision support that will tell clinicians about allergies and drug interactions, written orders, the most error-prone part of patient care, will be eliminated, all data will be integrated, dramatically reducing the chance of missing critical data, and Pharmacy will be incorporated within the system so pharmacists can verify drugs before they are given to patients.

The future has come to Queen's. Computer technology will help free clinicians from burdensome tasks and allow then to spend more time where they are needed most--at the bedside caring for patients.

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