High Tech Patient Care

By Deane Barker on June 8, 2004

In the hospital of the future, patients are pampered guests: This article on a new, high-tech hospital in Denver has some interesting notes.

Computerized patient records help prevent deadly medication errors. Embedded nanotechnology chips track everything from drugs to newborn infants. If an infant is carried outside of a secured area, alarms sound, and the hospital immediately is locked down to prevent a kidnapping.

Computers also are used to limit the time people spend in the waiting areas, which have stunning views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. A confirmation of the appointment is e-mailed to the patient the day before an exam or procedure. A patient who prints out the reminder can run a bar code on the page under a laser scanner near the hospital’s front door to check in. The staff sees this on a computer screen and prepares to greet the patient heading toward the waiting area.

By evening, the patient gets an e-mail from Brimhall asking how the visit went and whether the patient had to wait. Each case in which there was a delay is sent back to the department, which must explain the delay to Brimhall. He reports back to the patient.