Must-have features for on-line systems

Teaching tools, records, and reminders

Although All Children’s Hospital in St. Peters-burg, FL, purchased a software package for its on-line charting system, it is not being implemented as is. Many aspects of the program have been customized to fit the unique requirements of the health care facility, says Carole Holsonback, MSN, ARNP, trauma program manager and chair of the patient education committee.

One addition is the discharge teaching tools. The nurses spent a lot of time developing the tools and testing them for accuracy and patient satisfaction. Their inclusion on the computer system will allow nurses to easily track the progress of discharge planning, she reports.

A historical education flow sheet also was designed for the system. Often educators start at ground zero when teaching patients because it is difficult for them to pull together what the patient has been taught and who did the teaching, says Holsonback. The flow sheet has all the topics from the education screen and tracks what education has been taught and which discipline did the teaching.

For example, if a patient were taught about a specific asthma medication, that information would appear on a historical flow sheet. The information is automatically pulled from the education documentation screen.

Another feature that was added to the software is the ability to automatically transfer information from the admission assessment screen to education and discharge planning sections when appropriate.

During the process of making the entire patient medical record electronic at All Children’s Hospital, Holsonback worked with an interdisciplinary group to build the education and discharge planning piece. When documenting patient education on a paper form, every discipline had its own form and method for documentation. Now all will use the same format.

Also, reminders to document patient education will automatically pop up on the screen at appropriate times while during charting. These reminders will remain on the screen until the appropriate documentation has been completed, says Holsonback.


For more information about tailoring a computer system to meet the needs of your organization, contact:

• Carole Holsonback, MSN, ARNP, Trauma Program Manager, All Children’s Hospital, 801 Sixth St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. E-mail: