I stumbled upon an interesting statement recently, "The immediate availability of a patient's chart record means greater convenience to the nurse, the attending physician, the intern and the hospital administrator. Not only is there a marked saving in time, but greater accuracy is secured in clinical records when the chart and chart holder are easily accessible." Sounds like many of the conversations we hear today about electronic documentation. But the source of this statement may surprise you: it is from a series of articles in The Modern Hospital, circa October, 19221! Looks like the theme of immediate availability of a patient's record has been around for a long time and for the same reasons.
This has put me in a bit of a nostalgic mood. Recently I was doing some work at a hospital and I glanced fondly at the good ol' chart rack. It has always been an integral piece in our arsenal of nursing tools. Although they may be a little different from one hospital to another – some are square, some are round, some have wheels, and some sit on a desk – they are all basically the same. Even today with all the electronic documentation and EHRs, they can still be seen doing their humble job on the nursing units, albeit a little thinner than they used to be. I have many memories of pulling up the chart rack to my spot at the nursing desk and doing my documentation for the day, hour, shift or whenever I got the chance.
But I digress, so back to the subject of immediate availability. If you have been a reader of our blog posts, you are already aware that we are advocates of immediate availability of patient's vital signs in the electronic record. Our goal is to help make that possible for any med/surg environment. We can help you collect vitals directly from most spot check monitors and transmit them along with additional documentation to the electronic record in near real time. This isn't future availability, it is available now. And apparently it still helps with the age old theme of "immediate availability of a patient's chart record".
 The Modern Hospital (Vol. XIX, p. Adv. 105). (1922). Chicago: The Modern Hospital Publishing.