Teaching and technology merge at new Dell Seton Medical Center

Doctors use cutting-edge technology to help patients heal faster.

A patient being treated during a simulation ahead of the opening of Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas (KXAN Photo)
A patient being treated during a simulation ahead of the opening of Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Teaching and technology are merging at the new Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The cutting-edge hospital is set to open in less than a week-and-a-half.

Doctors say the state-of-the-art advances are designed to improve patient comfort and speed their healing.

When a patient is under the lights inside an operating room at the new hospital, they may not understand how the latest technology works to save their life, but the team of doctors and nurses working on them know.

For instance, almost everything inside the operating rooms is computerized. Medical gases are in the ceiling instead of on the floor, where they can become a trip hazard. And there are cameras inside the overhead lights, allowing other trauma teams to watch a surgery in real time.

Hospital Project Manager David Shackelford said the normal operating room at Dell Seton is much bigger than the largest one at University Medical Center Brackenridge. The extra space allows doctors to perform several procedures at the same time.

“Which means patients get taken care of at one time, they’re on anesthesia for less time and they heal faster,” said Shackelford, who is spearheading the hospital’s opening next month.

That’s the goal at the region’s only level-one trauma hospital. Inside patients’ rooms, hospital designers installed more technology.

Another cutting-edge feature is that anytime an employee walks into a patient’s room, information from their badge pops up on a screen. It tells the patients who is coming in to help and it also allows the hospital to track which doctor or nurse was inside the room.

“It’s an opportunity for technology to help engage with patients,” Shackelford said. “But it doesn’t take away from our clinicians engaging in that human touch.”

And when a doctors discharge a patient, there are no more sheets of paper explaining how to care for their condition at home. Instead a video pops up on the screen to explain.

Doctors say every floor and room in the new hospital are configured the same. This means medicine, documentation stations and supplies are in an easy place for staffers to find. The setup ultimately is helping medical staff cut down on the time it takes to treat a patient.

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