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Posted on June 23, 2011 by  & 

Fujitsu and Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital patient guidance system

Displays number in queue and guides patients to exam rooms using low-power color e-paper

Fujitsu Limited and Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital recently announced the joint development of a clinical appointment guidance system that employs color electronic paper (e-paper). The system recently began full operations.
The new system, which employs electronic card holders equipped with e-paper and Fujitsu's proprietary wireless communications technologies, guides patients to examination rooms or diagnostic testing rooms and is connected to an electronic medical record system. This enables detailed guidance information to be delivered to the electronic card holder of individual patients during their visit, from check-in and calling patients when the doctor is ready to see them, through to payment.
With the electronic card holder, patients can view in real-time their place in queue when waiting to see their doctor. Traditionally, patients have had to stay near the examination room, whereas with the new solution, patients can spend their time waiting wherever they wish as long as they are within signal range. This in turn allows patients more freedom to be in areas they find more comfortable and not have to deal with the possible stress of waiting in one place for their appointment.
As a result, Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital has been able to enhance its patient services, in addition to leveraging ICT to improve its operational efficiency, conserve power by streamlining the charging electronic holders as well as reduce costs.
Overview of the Clinical Appointment Guidance System
In order to further promote the improvement of its outpatient services, the Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital worked in collaboration with Fujitsu to develop its clinical appointment guidance system, which began full operations in April 2011.
The new system is based on Fujitsu's Outpatient Guidance System, which integrates electronic card holders equipped with low-power color electronic paper and wireless communications technology with patients' electronic medical records, delivering information individually to outpatients and easing anxiety while they await their clinical consultation. The electronic card holder achieves impressive power savings, lasting a full week on a single charge, making possible reductions in ICT operating costs.
The Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital has also enhanced its standby guidance system by installing large display panels, helping to smooth communication with patients and improve business efficiency.
Furthermore in fiscal 2010, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications conducted trials at Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital as part of its 2010 initiative for the promotion of ubiquitous health and medical technology, and found that by deploying this system, patient call times to examination rooms could be cut almost in half.
Future Plans
The Sapporo Shirakaba-dai Hospital is considering deploying this system in the inpatient ward as well as the outpatient clinic, enabling the entire hospital to leverage its capabilities and work toward further improving service to patients. Fujitsu will continue to expand functionality of this solution as part of its goal of improving patient service, aiding health care providers, and reducing environmental impact.
Features of the Clinical Appointment Guidance Solution
  • 1. Simplifies registration
By simply inserting an IC-equipped registration card, the electronic card holder automatically links into the medical facility's electronic patient navigation system and electronic medical record system, completing the registration process.
  • 2. Conveys detailed information
The screen on the electronic card holder can display the following items: (1) today's schedule, (2) place in queue, and (3) updates. Message displays are accompanied by sound and vibration to keep the patient fully informed.
  • 3. Helps clinics with environmental efforts
As the electronic card holder uses color e-paper for its display, it consumes almost no power even when on, and can run on a single charge for one week. In addition, as the registration functions of the electronic card holder obviate the need for any registration process on subsequent visits, it saves the electricity that would otherwise be used in that process, helping to reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions.
By tying in with Fujitsu's HOPE/EGMAIN electronic medical record system, the information that had previously been passed along through paper reservation slips is now displayed on the electronic card holder, reducing paper consumption and further benefiting the environment.
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