For Immediate Release
To help the healthcare system address these problems, researchers at
the Georgia Tech Research Institute
(GTRI) have adapted an electronic job aid and reference tool they designed
for aircraft maintenance workers. The tool is intended to improve the
performance of nurses and other hospital personnel.
Called the medical electronic performance support system (MedEPSS), the
technology is based on the award-winning maintainer's electronic performance
support system (MEPSS ) developed by Gisele Welch, director of GTRI's
Logistics and Maintenance Applied
Research Center (LandMARC) and her colleagues. MEPSS was designed
for military maintenance workers who repair P-3 aircraft for the U.S.
Like its predecessor, MedEPSS offers a secure and mobile source of reference
material, specialized training materials and ready access to vital records.
For time-pressed nurses, ready access to patient history, drug information,
medical references and automated diagnostic tools could be a lifesaver
- literally, Welch said.
MedEPSS also could relieve some of the workplace pressures nurses face,
such as patient overloads stemming from the national shortage of nurses,
healthcare worker errors and increased demands for more specialized care,
"There are lots of tools available for doctors," she explained,
"but very little focus on nurses."
Now in the pilot testing phase, MedEPSS operates as Web-based software
on handheld hardware, such as Compac's iPac. Secure and portable, the
system offers multiple benefits: Patient care could be optimized, diagnoses
made more quickly and easily, and errors (including those associated with
the administration of drugs) could be reduced.
Training, including refresher training, also could be enhanced by the
device, increasing throughput as nurses receive less classroom and more
in-service training. In the military, where the MEPSS is in use, classroom
instruction is supplemented or even replaced. This on-demand training
has already resulted in fewer errors and a marked improvement in performance
results among maintenance workers, Welch said.
Beyond the patient's bedside, MedEPSS could have other applications in
the healthcare industry. In a hospital's business office, for example,
the same technology could be used to speed admissions procedures and reduce
billing and paperwork errors, a common problem in hospitals. Likewise,
laboratories could use MedEPSS to input lab results as they become available
and transmit them directly to physicians. The possibilities are enormous,
At Grady Health System
in Atlanta, where MedEPSS is being tested, enthusiasm for the system is
"The system will be useful for our nursing staff," said Rosiland
Harris, director, Patient Care Quality Management and Education at Grady.
"It will give them better access to policies, procedures and performance
improvement tools." She noted the need for increased efficiency in
large environments like Grady, the largest receiving hospital in the Southeast.
Welch and officials at Grady hope that MedEPSS ultimately will provide the healthcare industry with a new generation of performance support systems that are user-friendly, integrated and secure, Welch added.
RESEARCH NEWS & PUBLICATIONS OFFICE
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA
TECHNICAL CONTACT: Gisele Welch (404-894-0155); E-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Writer: Patricia West