By Michaela Gibson Morris / NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Visitors to the North Mississippi Medical Center Emergency Department have paused for pictures largely without problems.
The ER implemented an ID badge system for visitors in early February, and the reception has been generally positive, said Bill Ricketts, emergency department nurse manager.
“It doesn’t delay patient care at all,” Ricketts said. “It takes family members five to 30 seconds.”
The system helps clearly identify visitors and limit the number of authorized visitors, Ricketts said. Normally, that’s two people per patient; the entire hospital is currently on a one-visitor limit because of the high level of influenza.
“It’s a safer environment for visitors, patients and staff members,” Ricketts said.
The procedure is straightforward and quick. ER visitors will come by the reception desk and present their driver’s license, military or state ID and identify themselves and the patient they want to visit. The ER staff swipe it and the computer pulls in the name and ID expiration date.
“It doesn’t capture any other information,” Ricochet said.
The front desk staff take a quick picture of the visitor and print out a badge on a sticker with the person’s name, the patient’s ER room number and telephone number. Family members can swap in and out as many times as they like to stay within the visitor guidelines, Ricketts said.
The ER allows children 12 and up to visit; however, the children won’t be photographed. They will receive a badge that says child visitor with ER room number as well as the picture and name of the adult accompanying them, Ricketts said. It helps the staff and security reunite children who become separated during the visit.
The badge automatically expires after three hours. Visitors who are coming in and out of the restricted area will need to stop back by the ER front desk to refresh their badge after three hours.
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and other hospitals around the country have used this same system to protect patient privacy and improve safety, and Ricketts expects it will become widely used over the next several years.
“We want to be ahead of the curve,” Ricketts said.