It may not do much to speed up wait times, but Fujitsu is at least doing its part to make the time outpatients spend at hospitals and clinics a bit easier. It's announced a new wireless outpatient guidance system, which packs an electronic paper display, and accommodates a card that a patient would receive when they arrive for their appointment. When placed in the card reader, the device would automatically register the patient at the hospital or clinic, guide them to their destination, and continually inform them of their wait time and place in line. It'd also, of course, work anywhere there's a wireless signal, so you'd be able to leave the waiting room without having to worry about missing your appointment. No word on any hospitals that have signed up to use it just yet, but the system will be commercially available in February of next year. Full press release after the break.
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Fujitsu Launches Electronic Paper-based Outpatient Guidance Solution

Tokyo, July 12, 2010 - Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu General Limited today announced the launch of a new electronic paper-based outpatient guidance solution, commercially available today from Fujitsu, designed to be used during the check-in process at medical facilities such as hospitals and clinics.

Through a proprietary wireless communications system, the solution connects electronic card holders (made by Fujitsu General) utilizing electronic paper (e-paper) with both a patient navigation system, which guides patients to examination rooms or diagnostic testing rooms in medical facilities, and an electronic medical record system. This enables detailed guidance information to be delivered to the electronic card holder of an individual patient during their visit, from check-in and calling patients when the doctor is ready to see them, through to payment.

Through the electronic card holder, the solution shows outpatients their place in the queue when waiting for their consultation, and will notify them when they are called through visual displays and vibration. As long as they are within signal range, outpatients do not need to stay in the waiting room, allowing them to spend their time waiting however they find most comfortable and least stressful.

By reducing the time it takes for patients to make their way through, the medical facility can focus more on nursing care. As well, reducing the number of intake terminals and large information displays enables medical facilities to limit energy use and CO2 emissions.

Background

Clinics typically use electronic signage in waiting rooms to show visiting patients who will be called next, which requires all patients to stay near the waiting room. There is an increasing need, therefore, to find ways of relieving patients of the stress of waiting and enabling them to use their time more effectively. Furthermore, healthcare facilities are interested in finding ways to improve the services and amenities they provide to outpatients.

To address this issue, Fujitsu began experimental testing at Fujitsu Laboratories and Fujitsu Clinic in 2009. The testing verified the feasibility of the solution being launched today, a solution that links electronic card holders using e-paper, with an electronic medical record system.

The outpatient information solution will be on display at the Hospision® booth at the International Modern Hospital Show 2010, opening July 14, 2010.

Solution Features

1. Simplifies registration
By simply inserting an IC-equipped registration card, the electronic card holder automatically links into the medical facility's electronic patient navigation system and electronic medical record system, completing the registration process.

2. Conveys detailed information
The screen on the electronic card holder can display the following items: (1) Today's Schedule, (2) Place in Line, and (3) Updates. Message displays are accompanied by sound and vibration to keep the patient fully informed. Today's Schedule shows the scheduled time for the patient's consultation and related status information. Place in Line indicates how many patients are in the queue ahead. Updates display any messages of importance to the patient.

3. Helps clinics with environmental efforts
As the electronic card holder uses color e-paper for its display, it consumes almost no power even when on, and can run on a single charge for one week. In addition, as the registration functions of the electronic card holder obviate the need for any registration process on subsequent visits, it saves the electricity that would otherwise be used in that process, helping to reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions. By tying in with Fujitsu's HOPE/EGMAIN electronic medical record system, the information that had previously been passed along through paper reservation slips is now displayed on the electronic card holder, reducing paper consumption and further benefiting the environment.

Practical Testing at Fujitsu Clinic


Electronic Card Holder

From July through October of 2009, Fujitsu tested 50 of the electronic card holders at Fujitsu Clinic to assess them in terms of (1) low-power performance and operational cost savings in actual use, (2) wireless transmission performance, and (3) quality of the information distribution service from the point of view of clinic staff and patients. The testing involved 400 patients, and the results showed that roughly 95% of them had a favorable impression of the solution. Fujitsu Clinic was set up at the company's facilities in Kawasaki City with the goals of treating employees and their families and providing health management services. Its former name, Fujitsu Hospital, was changed to Fujitsu Clinic on July 1, 2010. In the future it will be bringing online some of the latest medical technology, capable of enhanced detailed imaging, such as CT and MRI equipment, and will be offering enhanced services to prevent lifestyle diseases and offer early detection of illness, all of which are part of its commitment to deliver safe, secure, and reliable medical care.

Pricing and Availability

Solution Name Pricing in Japan (excluding tax) Shipping
Outpatient Information Solution Available by quotation February 2011
Sales Target

30 systems over next three years

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a leading provider of ICT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 170,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.6 trillion yen (US$50 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.

Press Contacts

Fujitsu Limited
Public and Investor Relations Division

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All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

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Fujitsu's wireless guidance system promises to free patients from the waiting room