Using a white board as a patient tool

There is a white board in every patient’s room. This is used to keep patient oriented and provide them with basic information. You would see some data on it, most of the time there is a date scrolled on it, name of the nurse and maybe physician’s name.

I recently read an article “Getting the most out the humble white board” by Deborrah Gesenway. This is an excellent read and I would strongly recommend that you should try reading it.

Dr. Niraj Sehgal, a hospitalist at the University of California, conducted a survey regarding the use of white board. He inferred at the end of survey that a “white board should be a patient centered tool.” This can be used to convey to the patient what the goals are for the day and what kind of test or procedures they should be expecting.

So after reading the article I decided to give it a try. I borrowed a color marker from our unit secretary and started my new quest. When I am finished talking to the patient I take out my marker and write down the plans in a bullet format. For example:

  • My name
  • CT abdomen today
  • GI consult requested
  • Transfuse 2 units of blood

This  takes a few seconds but provides point of reference for the patient and they feel much better when they know what their goals are for that day.

I have been doing this recently, and since then, I feel my patients are better informed and more appreciative.

S. Irfan Ali is a hospitalist who blogs at Human Factor in Medicine and Life.

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