Sitting in a waiting room for nine hours is common for patients seeking emergency medical care in Alberta, Canada. In effort to improve health care access, Calgary’s Rockyview General Hospital is using smart cards to expedite medical care to those who need it most. In its first few months, administrators have discovered that using patient smart cards significantly reduces emergency room wait times by making it quicker for doctors to access patient information.
Instead of logging in and out of multiple systems throughout the day, ER doctors now simply log into a work station and insert a patient card. When the smart card is ejected, the doctor is automatically logged out and the patient information is no longer available. Since beginning the pilot program, doctors have reported saving as much as time as one hour per shift. With seven doctors on at a time, it saves seven hours of time that doctors now use to focus on treating patients.
Each smart card stores a patient’s information, such a medical history, current medications and other vital stats. Because the information is stored on a microchip embedded within the card, the new method protects patient privacy better than the former system.
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