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Paperless wireless hospital


I appreciate the additional discussion, and I wanted to pass on some more
details that we considered in our LCA for the 300 bed community hospital
that we are building "green" from the ground up.

First, to Bob Pojasek's point about the difference about existing and new
facilities, what he says is overwhelmingly true.  We are blessed (and
slightly cursed) with a situation where many processes and physical
components will travel across to the new campus.  So we have had to do
exactly what he suggests with staff.  However, because the advantages of
going paperless and wireless are so enormous from the patient safety and
efficiency perspective, for that change we are doing less exploration and
more explanation.

Second, to the excellent points about IT energy consumption, this was indeed
a tricky item in our LCA.  IT was divided into computing and storage;
computing hardly changes at all, except for digital radiography.  Storage
increases quite a bit, but is not so energy-consumptive, especially since
much of it is passive storage.  Energy consumption overall (per patient
hour) actually decreases so much that IT is lost in the noise.  When we
break it out, we probably did not make as much progress as we could have but
quite a lot of 2-3 year old computers are moving, instead of being replaced.

Which brings me to IT energy efficiency.  The trends in energy consumption
are down, and accelerating in that direction, driven more by having to deal
with heat inside the CPU than anything else.  From the chips to the power
sources to the monitors, everything is using less juice. Even "vampire
power", the electricity that is used when everything looks idle (but isn't)
is down almost 80% in the right new units, because of advanced design.

I cannot say that paperless gets us the most progress, but I am not worried
that increasing IT to get paperless has degraded our progress (in this
case).  What I AM worried about are the batteries to enable the mobile
portion of the wireless system.  Ouch!

--Terry Foecke
Managing Partner
Materials Productivity LLC
6701 Penn Avenue South, Suite 200
Richfield, MN  55423
(p) 612-243-3605
(f) 612-243-3608

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