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HAMC updates emergency services

By Staff | May 2, 2011

The Heart of America Medical Center just completed a long overdue update of their Emergency Room (ER) and Critical Care (ICU) monitoring services. The last monitors were purchased in 1991, but did have some upgrades done since then, according to Julie Baustad, director of nursing, acute care.

The project includes a new monitor/defibrillator for the ER, wireless cardiac/vital signs monitor at all other ER beds, including the exam rooms and one in each ICU bed. In addition, there is a vital signs monitor for the Acute/Swing Bed wing, 4 new telemetries for ambulatory patients and Central Stations in the ICU, ER and Acute/Swing Bed wing. With the upgrade they will have five monitors, which are all portable to be used anywhere necessary.

“The biggest update is the Central Station in the ER,” said Baustad. The Central Station, because of its overall monitoring capability, will make the department more efficient and better able to serve the patient, she added. It connects all monitors and telemetries in the ER, Acute Care and ICU under a watchful eye or several pairs of watchful eyes, as the case may be. All monitors can also perform 12 Lead electrocardiograms (EKGs), which show a broader picture of what is going on with the patient’s heart.

Another new capability is the addition of capnography which is a way of electronically keeping track of CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels in the patient. Continuous temperature monitoring, respirations and oxygen saturation monitoring, external and internal blood pressure monitoring are all available with these systems.

Planning for the long term, the upgrade includes capabilities for web-based monitoring by the doctors from their computers and direct connection to the patient’s electronic medical record, so information can be recorded automatically. This will take place when Healthland, the electronic medical record vendor, provides the interface.

All of these capabilities will add to the efficiency of the department and provide an even better level of care for the patient.

The over $200,000 budgeted project took about 2 1/2 months to complete, according to Baustad. Some cosmetic changes will be made to the ER, as well.

The Level 5-Trauma-Certified emergency care is part of the acute care department of the Heart of America Medical Center. The ER has approximately 2500 visits per year.

The Heart of America Medical Center began in 1910 as the Good Samaritan Hospital Association (GSHA). It was established by a group of dedicated ministers and sustained by 37 area churches of all denominations. (according to their website). The name was changed to Heart of America Medical Center about ten years ago.

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