St. Rose designed custom whiteboards for each room that patients, doctors, and nurses use to communicate with one another.
We had patient boards in every room, but they didn’t feel like they were being used to their full advantage. At the time they were just used to record the nurse’s name, the date, and their plan of care for the day. We noticed that people would use the blank spaces on the board to leave notes for each other—for example the advocate might leave a note for the doctor based on a conversation with the patient. This helped us realize that the boards could be used for communication between the patient, their medical team, and their advocates.
St. Rose is a non-profit hospital in Hayward, CA. It has 217 beds and serves a diverse, low-income population including Spanish, Hindi, and Tagalog speakers. Their transitions program began in 2012 and is influenced by Project RED.
What We Tried
We worked with the nurses and patient advocates to redesign the white boards. We asked the nurses what would help them with their day-to-day work and we asked the advocates what the patients asked for the most at bedside. From those conversations, we added a communication section for notes between the care team and another section for questions the patient had for their care team. We also made the board more colorful and engaging, to make the room more inviting.
The new boards have been very successful at increasing communication between patients, their medical team, and their advocates. Whenever someone walks into the room, they look at the board to see what the care plan is and whether there are any notes or special requests from the patient. Patients also feel more empowered to ask questions because it’s easier to write them down than to have to remember to bring them up when the doctor is in the room. They’ll ask the advocates to write questions to the doctor on the board for them.
Part of what made our boards so successful is that we worked very closely with the nurses to design it. It’s as much for them as it is for the patients and the advocates.