Feb 20, 2020
Most hospitals have discovered the benefits of installing hospital whiteboards in every patient room in their facilities. The undeniable usefulness of patient room boards during treatment is well documented, but there still remains a problem for many facilities across the country: their whiteboards are not consistently used. Unfortunately, not all team members have the time to fill out whiteboard information fields. Others simply forget to use the board. No matter what the issue may be, there are several things a facility can do to encourage whiteboard use, allowing them to get the most out of their investment.
What information fields are on your whiteboard? Many facilities have boards in their patient rooms, the trouble is that they are not entirely useful. These small boards will contain fields like patient name, room number, provider name and a few other basic bits of information. While these fields are important and should be included on nearly every patient room whiteboard, there are so many other fields that can enhance the usefulness of the board during treatment.
Consider including pain scales, daily goals, discharge dates and optional fields for patients and family members to leave notes and questions on your whiteboards. These fields make open up communication between patients and providers and will encourage all parties to use the board on a daily basis. Learn more about how to approach the design of a hospital whiteboard here.
Where are your whiteboards placed in each patient room? Are they within plain sight of the patient’s bed, or are they hidden off in the corner of a room, blocked by a doorway or otherwise out of sight (and mind)? It’s easy to forget that patient room whiteboards even exist if they aren’t conveniently placed so that care teams remember to use them. If your whiteboards are not being used very often, it may be time to make some small design alterations to patient rooms so that the boards can be placed where they will definitely be used. Learn more about optimal whiteboard placement here.
What’s the quality of your current whiteboards? Are they easy to write on? Do they stain or leave leftover marks easily? Is there always a whiteboard marker nearby? A surprising number of nurses and other hospital staff refrain from using whiteboards because they are simply low quality or difficult to write on and use. The quality of your whiteboards matter, not just because they will last longer, but also because making them easier to use will encourage nurses to use them.
Some of the whiteboard features that make boards easier to use include:
- Surfaces that resist ghosting and staining
- Optional magnetic surfaces
- Custom information fields
- Marker trays for easy storage
- Surfaces that are easy to clean with available hospital-grade cleaners
When your whiteboards are easy to use, effectively designed and placed well within your facility, you will see a noticeable difference in how much they are used and how well patients interact with them.