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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia received an award for its Patient and Provider Location System.

Photo courtesy of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Tracking system helps to keep patients in touch

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) developed an in-house system that improves communication between patients and health care providers. The Patient and Provider Location System (PPLS) is being used at CHOP's Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care and follows interactions between patients and staff, providing visibility within the clinical setting to ensure smooth and efficient flow during an appointment.

A patient is issued a pager to track his or her location, allowing the system to send a message to hospital personnel when that patient has not had interaction with a clinician or staff for several minutes. This ensures that patients do not sit for long periods without hospital staff having checked on them. 

It also improves patient privacy. A series of sensors placed above each exam room door will emit a yellow light when a patient enters, and a purple light when the clinician is also in the room. This way, staff can look down a hallway to see whether a room is occupied without stepping inside. When a patient leaves an exam room, cleaning staff are automatically notified to disinfect the room to prepare for the next patient.

The Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) awarded the CHOP system with the Digital Innovation Award in May.

“The Patient and Provider Location System will make appointments easier for both our patients and our clinical team," said Gayle Stidsen-Smith, senior director of patient access and revenue cycle, health information management, and data integration in information services at CHOP. "So many departments came together to make the PPLS a reality, and it's an honor to have that hard work recognized by PACT.”

Virtual reality opens new world for elderly patients

National Public Radio followed along on a patient visit with Sonya Kim, M.D., founder of One Caring Team, as she took a 103-year-old-patient on a trip through virtual reality.

The patient “walked along” a beautiful Hawaiian beach just as the sun was setting, looking out at an expansive sea and deep, colorful sky. The beautiful backdrop set a relaxing scene as the patient listened to words of encouragement and reminders to keep up with her medication.

The patient is part of Kim’s medical virtual reality program, which also conducts group therapy sessions at assisted living centers throughout Northern California’s Bay Area.  

“Dementia patients often feel lost, because they feel that they don't belong anywhere," Kim tells NPR. "I want them to feel found again.”

High school students help patients to navigate the emergency department

Two 15-year-old Canadian high school students developed an award-winning smartphone app to help patients at Central West Community Care Access Centre, Headwaters Health Care Centre and William Osler Health System all located in Ontario, Canada, to understand the daily happenings in emergency departments (EDs).

The Emerg Master app is a game that includes characters from Headwaters’ and Osler’s EDs who offer detailed information about how the hospitals connect patients with community care. It also provides information about how the EDs work, to help patients understand processes and manage expectations when they arrive.

The app launched on Google Play June 28.