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5 Practical Tips To Maximize The Effectiveness Of Patient Boards

Doctors, listen up! 5 ways patient boards can amplify your practice

Healthcare professionals emphasize the critical role of efficient communication in ensuring accurate and streamlined patient care. Recent studies reveal that a significant portion of sentinel events in hospitals, approximately 65 percent, can be attributed to communication errors. However, patient boards have emerged as invaluable tools to enhance patient safety by improving patient-staff communication. Here are practical tips to maximize the efficiency of dry-erase patient boards.

Place Strategically for Optimal Visibility

  • Ensure that patient room boards are strategically positioned for optimal visibility, making it easy for patients and their families to access important information. Some hospitals place these boards at the nursing station, within direct view of patient rooms, while others opt for placement within each patient's room. 

The key is prioritizing visibility so crucial details are easily readable and accessible to enhance communication between healthcare providers, patients, and their families.

Write Clear and Understandable Information

  • Ensure that the information presented on the patient care board is easily readable and understandable. While writing information on the board, it’s important to recognize that communication with patients differs from that with colleagues. Therefore, it is essential to tailor the content to be easily digestible for patients and their families.

For instance, medical abbreviations such as "PT" for physical therapy or "CT" for computed tomography scans might not be universally understood by all individuals. The goal is to convey information in a clear and accessible manner, fostering improved communication and understanding among patients and their families.

Monitor Essential Details for Improved Care

  • A patient board is a valuable tool containing crucial information, ensuring efficient care. It typically includes essential details such as the room number, patient's preferred name, names of caregivers (physician, nurse, etc.), upcoming test appointments, labs and procedures, and the anticipated discharge date. Additionally, it may list allergies, meal plans, preferred family contact, day and date, pain medication schedule, and hourly rounding. 

The tracking of hourly rounding serves as a vital visual cue, reassuring patients and their families about regular check-ins. This significantly contributes to enhancing patient satisfaction. The patient communication board needs to remain flexible, allowing for adjustments to meet evolving needs by adding or removing items as necessary.

Prioritize Timely and Accurate Updates

  • Ensure the patient room board reflects the most current and accurate information. While caregivers may feel pressed with entering and updating medical records, updating the patient communication board is equally essential. This board serves the patients and caregivers, influencing patient satisfaction, safety, and the duration of the hospital stay.

For instance, if a patient's dietary status changes to NPO (nothing by mouth) for upcoming fasting labs or surgery, however, failure to communicate this promptly on the board may lead to rescheduling the tests, an extended hospital stay or, at the very least, inconvenience that affects patient satisfaction. Recognizing the broader impact, caregivers should prioritize keeping the patient board up-to-date alongside other documentation processes.

Attach Dry Erase Markers

  • Patient BoardsConsider the impact of seemingly minor details in enhancing the practicality of patient communication boards. According to a National Library of Medicine study, nurses, internal medicine house staff, and hospitalists identified a significant barrier to regular board updates – finding a dry-erase marker. 

Streamlining this process by attaching a dry-erase marker directly to the board can alleviate this concern and encourage hospital staff to engage more consistently with the communication board. Simplifying access to essential tools ensures that caregivers can readily contribute to maintaining up-to-date information, fostering improved communication and patient care.

Transform and enhance the care delivery in your healthcare facility by purchasing a dry-erase patient board. New York Blackboard is the market leader in dry-erase whiteboards. For years, we have been making and selling handcrafted boards. Book your order now. We are located in New Jersey.

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