At Arkansas Childrens Hospital in Little Rock, a new education and entertainment system can be described this way: play station meets the nurses station.
Late last year, the hospital developed and implemented CarePoint, a system based on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Xbox 360 that is designed for doctors, nurses, patients and their families. So while providers use it to educate patients about their condition, kids use it for television programs, movies on demand, games, music and e-mail.
(For those who may not be up to date on their new media, the Windows XP Media Center allows users to do things like pause and rewind live TV; organize and play a music collection; and show digital photos, while Xbox 360 is a wireless game product with high-definition graphics.)
The computer is installed in the wall behind the headboard of a patients bed and is connected to a touch-screen monitor, which in turn is attached to a swing arm mounted to the headboard. The computer is also connected to the Xbox system and to a wall-mounted flat-screen TV. To help reduce the risk of infection, information technology staff replaced traditional keyboards with silicon keyless keyboards and a control system that uses a 15-inch, touch-screen monitor instead of a remote-control device.
David Higginson, the hospitals chief information technology officer, says the system is less expensive not only for the hardware, but also in the future because the hospital relies on its own staff, rather than vendors. The case study said the hospital spent less than $2 million to develop, implement and maintain CarePointincluding the salaries of two full-time IT staff members to administer the systemcompared with similar systems it could have purchased for between $2.7 million and $3.3 million.
The nurses have control, and, at the same time, the parent at home can monitor what the kid is watching, Higginson says of CarePoint. It gives the patient a bridge not only to the hospital, but to the outside world, he says.
Arkansas Childrens Hospital implemented CarePoint in 14 patient rooms last November, and expects to have all 265 stations in place by the end of 2007, Higginson says.