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WakeMed Using Electronic Bedboard To Speed Up System

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, nurses take calls from the emergency department, other hospitals and doctors offices searching to find a bed for their patients.

For years, Trish Toten, preadmissions care coordinator at WakeMed, kept track of it all with pencil and paper.

"I used to have a piece of paper that I would handwrite everyone in with all their names," Toten said.

The paper approach worked, but it was not always efficient. WakeMed and three other hospitals in the country are testing electronic bedboards. They are using a color-coded screen to illustrate the status of the hospital's 500-plus beds.

The beds occupied by women are colored pink, men are blue. Green means the room is being cleaned and gives nurses the green light to assign it. The system also pages the doctor or nurse to let them know the bed is ready, which frees up more staff to see patients.

"[It] eliminates all of our telephone calls. We've estimated that's over 2,000 contacts a month," said Heidi McAfee, manager of patient registration at the hospital.

"The whole idea is that we're able to flow the patient more smoothly through the system," said Janice Frohman, adminstrative director of emergency services at the hospital.

WakeMed has been using the electronic bedboard since December. Nurses run the board seven days a week, 24 hours a day.