a tablet computer and use the wireless network to beam it into the hospital databases.

Mr. Conway is in too much pain to recall all of his medications accurately. Dr. Hendricks queries a clinical data-sharing network, which compiles a list from the computerized records of local pharmacies. The doctor has a question about which would be the best diagnostic test to order given the specifics of Mr. Conway’s history. He consults the hospital’s digital library, and with several mouse clicks he confirms that a computer-assisted tomography (CAT) scan is still the expert-recommended choice. He orders the study via the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system and also orders some pain-relieving medication. The program alerts him that his choice could have a dangerous interaction with one of the medications Mr. Conway is taking. The computer suggests an alternative, which the doctor selects instead.

A few moments later, Dr. Hendricks sees that the patient is not in his room. He looks at the electronic dashboard, which is tracking the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag on Mr. Conway’s wristband. He learns that the patient was transported to radiology 5 minutes ago and is currently undergoing the scan. Shortly thereafter, an alert on the dashboard warns him that the radiologist has reported an abnormality on the study. Luckily, the pain is being caused by a kidney stone instead of something more serious. With a single click the emergency physician is able to view the digital images and confirm the findings.

Looking for assistance in managing Mr. Conway’s kidney stone, Dr. Hendricks pages a urologist. Instead of wasting time waiting by the phone, he immediately goes to see another patient. He knows that whenever his call is returned, it will be routed to the digital communication device he wears on his lapel.

Dr. Hendricks generates the documentation for the patient’s ED visit through a wireless dictation or wireless tablet system that allows him to note historical and physical findings, order laboratory tests and radiographs, and submit orders via CPOE with integrated decision support. In either case, he does not have to search for a chart or wait for someone else to finish using it.

The dashboard is updated with Mr. Conway’s pending discharge so the housekeeping manager can ensure that the resources required to clean the room will be available when needed. The triage nurse in the ED selects the next patient to use the room when it becomes available.

A short time later, Mr. Conway is feeling better and is ready to be discharged home. He receives a computer-generated instruc-

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