- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The George Washington University Hospital in Northwest is building a modern 371-bed hospital.
The new, 400,000-square-foot facility is going up across the street from the existing hospital on university land previously used as a parking lot. The property is just south of Washington Circle and adjacent to the Foggy Bottom Metro station.
The main entrance of the hospital will be on 23rd Street. Inside the facility there will be hundreds of miles of wires that enable the operation of a new radio-frequency network that accommodates state-of-the-art telemetry and portable patient-monitoring capabilities.
Telemetry measures and records patient vital signs via radio signals. FlexNet, made by Welch Allyn Monitoring, is a wireless telemetry network that links multiple monitoring devices, such as portable bedside vital signs monitors and ambulatory telemetry monitors worn by the patient, with central surveillance nursing workstations.
The addition of Micropaq, a revolutionary patient-worn telemetry monitor, now allows nurses to readily observe patient vital signs of patients right at their bedside, which is critical when administering medications.
"Less sophisticated telemetry systems provided no display on the patient-worn device, said Karen Hicks, chief nurse executive. "Therefore we had to depend on a monitor watcher or ask another nurse to look at the central station display located in a different area to observe the monitors."
In addition, conventional telemetry monitors cease to function if a patient is transferred to another department, wanders out of range of the antenna or is transported on the elevators. With the Micropaq display and alarm capabilities, GWU nurses can now monitor patients when transporting patients throughout the facility.
The FlexNet Network also offers the centralization of essential vital-sign parameters such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximetry and capnography on one system.
FlexNet also supports sophisticated central nursing workstations, which display a "blueprint" or map of each floor and care unit, indicating every monitored patient's location with colored icons.
Because the nursing workstations are networked the seamless movement of wireless patient-monitoring devices and data is allowed throughout the hospital.
The Micropaq software records in the device every beat of patient data for 96 hours, allowing for easy recordkeeping.
The $96 million project is funded by the partnership between Universal Health Services Inc. and the George Washington University.
The new hospital, which will house more than $45 million in high-tech equipment, will be one of the most technologically advanced medical facilities in the nation.


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