Washington hospital using whiteboards to communicate patients' wishes

Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Wash., is implementing changes in its maternity center with the intention of improving communication between patients, nurses and physicians, the Spokane Journal reported Sept. 8. 

TeamBirth, the hospital's new initiative, was piloted in 2018 by Ariadne Labs, a health innovation center at Harvard University's School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both based in Boston. TeamBirth promotes the roles of the laboring patient, nurse and delivering provider as equally valuable and improves shared expectations, according to Ariadne Labs' website.  

Providence Holy Family Hospital paid $20,000 for the initiative, which included training in cultural sensitivity, inclusivity and improved communication, according to the Journal.

Now, the hospital uses whiteboards to communicate care plans in each room, according to the Journal. Nurses are usually first to learn a patient's wishes, but when physicians arrive later, they may assign the nurses tasks or make assessments without knowing what the patient wants. Patients then feel like they must do what the physician wants to do, which decreases satisfaction in birth outcomes. Writing updates on the whiteboards has eliminated "phone tag" between the three parties, Deanna Higgins, the hospital's nurse manager, told the Journal

TeamBirth has been implemented in 28 hospitals, including 10 Providence hospitals, according to the Journal

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