Have clinical staff wear locator badges

At Swedish Medical Center's ED in Seattle, clinical staff wear locator badges (Versus; Traverse City, MI) that identify where specific individuals are located, via a light above the patient rooms and on a tracking view of a computer.

If a patient is calling for his or her nurse, or if a doctor is looking for another physician, they are easily located. A call can be placed to the patient's room, for example, to determine if someone else needs to respond or that a nurse already has responded, says Judy Street, RN, manager of emergency services. "This helps us avoid the 'hunt' process we all experience that is both time-consuming and frustrating," she says.

Four tracking boards are in the ED, but even if nurses are away from the tracking board, they can locate someone by looking above the patient rooms. "In addition, if a patient's light is flashing and the staff indicator light is on above the room or in the room, then there is no duplication of staff responding," says Street. [Editor's note: Staff locator badges manufactured by Versus integrate with SimplexGrinnell's 500 Nurse Call System. The cost of the badges is approximately $60 per badge, but require hardwired cable infrastructure along with computer hardware and software for a complete system. For more information, contact Barry Reimer, Electronic System Sales, SimplexGrinnell, 9520 10th Ave. S., Suite 100, Seattle, WA. 98108. Phone: (206) 291-1400, ext. 1441. E-mail: breimer@tycoint.com.]