IBM Canada Ltd.

IBM Canada Ltd.

May 07, 2007 10:00 ET

IBM Wireless Technology to Improve Patient Care at the Jewish General Hospital

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 7, 2007) - Faster diagnosis, better patient care and communication are key benefits of new wireless technology that IBM is designing and installing at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).

The secure wireless network gives physicians and other health care professionals quick and easy access to important patient information, enabling them to communicate with one and another from anywhere in the hospital via mobile devices, saving time and improving efficiency in patient care.

Since 2005, IBM has worked with the hospital to develop a strategy and technology system, using wireless technology from industry partner Symbol, to improve JGH medical staff's accessibility while ensuring patient privacy.

The first step towards becoming wireless was the installation of access points throughout the hospital. With this new technology, medical and nursing staff can now use mobile telephone technology and handheld devices inside the hospital in a safe and secure manner.

"Part of our mission is to actively lead the development and evaluation of new technologies that improve patient care," said Dr. Stephen Rosenthal, Associate Director of Medical Informatics at the JGH. "With the collaboration of IBM and Symbol, this wireless technology has already proven to be successful in keeping medical professionals connected in real time, which has helped patients. JGH physicians are already saving time and working more efficiently by using mobile devices for charting systems, and they will soon be able to access patients' test results wirelessly as well."

As medical staff members are constantly on the move and not easily accessible by phone, in order to obtain vital information from a colleague, they would previously have had to locate a land line, call the hospital operator to page the colleague, wait for the colleague to receive the page, locate another land line and call the number. The new wireless technology provides physicians with direct lines of communication, as well as instant access to patient information, which can facilitate quicker patient care decisions and better collaboration between health care workers.

A recent JGH quality and patient satisfaction survey demonstrated that the number one cause of patient dissatisfaction is the noise level on the patient care units. Typically, these units are equipped with nurse call systems, which require the nursing station's unit agent to use the overhead paging system to communicate with the assigned health care professional when a patient calls for help, thus disturbing up to 30 patients at the same time.

The wireless technology at the JGH enables patients to communicate directly with their assigned health care professionals 24/7, improving quality of care and efficiency of health care professionals. A pilot project using this technology was performed in the JGH's palliative care unit and had such a positive impact on the quality of patient care and efficiency that the hospital is presently expanding this system, which interfaces the existing nurse call with the wireless devices, to all its patient care units.

The JGH has already begun expanding the use of its new wireless system. For example, a mobile dictation application on PDAs with voice recognition was successfully piloted in the JGH Department of Emergency Medicine, and is now being deployed on a first in-patient unit. Another example currently being evaluated is the future use of this technology to track assets, such as wheelchairs or medical equipment, to minimize time searching for lost critical equipment.

About the JGH

Since 1934, the Sir Mortimer B. Davis - Jewish General Hospital, a McGill University teaching hospital, has provided "Care for All," serving patients from diverse religious, linguistic and cultural backgrounds in Montreal, throughout Quebec and beyond. As one of the province's largest acute-care hospitals, the JGH has achieved a reputation for excellence in key medical specialties by continually expanding and upgrading its facilities for clinical treatment and teaching, as well as research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. For more, please visit

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