Solving the Most Common Issues Providers Have With Hospital Whiteboards

Sep 18, 2019

aria vividboards

Using hospital whiteboards as a communication tool in patient rooms is one of the best ways to improve patient satisfaction and care, but not every facility who employs them uses them to the best of their ability. Thankfully, for every issue, there is a solution. These are the most common issues reported when using hospital whiteboards. 

Disappearing Whiteboard Pens

Ever had a good idea come to mind and nothing to write it down with? It’s a definite surprise, but studies have shown that the number one issue many providers have with the whiteboards in their facility is the lack of pens/markers to write on them with! Not having a whiteboard pen handy is enough to render any whiteboard entirely useless. It could also be enough to discourage hospital staff, who are always on the move, from using one of the most useful patient communication tools at their disposal.  

The Solution

There are several ways to solve this persistent problem:  

- Attach a marker or pen to your whiteboard using a cord or string 
- Use a pen with a magnet (if you have a magnetic whiteboard surface, the pen can be placed right onto the board itself) 
- Use an accessory tray. Some whiteboards (like our MyHarmony glass line) come with a hidden accessory tray that store markers behind the board and out of sight 

Not Knowing What Information to Provide

Other studies regarding whiteboard use in hospitals have noted that whiteboard use declines when there are no established guidelines for use. This includes the type of patient information to include on boards and how to convey that information to patients.  

The Solution

Custom whiteboards allow facilities and designers to decide which information fields to include on their whiteboards. Rather than using a completely empty whiteboard, or a whiteboard filled with unhelpful information fields, custom whiteboard layouts allows for every bit of the whiteboard to be useful to both patients and providers. It also allows facilities to standardize the layout of whiteboards placed in every single patient room. Healthcare providers will always know which information to write down before leaving, and those entering the room will always know where to find the information they are looking for.   

Agreeing On Who Should Update the Board

Who is responsible for filling out the information on boards and keeping it updated? This is an important decision every facility needs to make in order to ensure that whiteboards are used most effectively. 

The Solution

Since nurses work most closely with patients and are most likely to be in and out of the room at all times of the day, facilities have found that they are the best person to fill out the information fields and ensure that they are kept up to date. If this is not the case for your facility, take the time to discuss with your care team who will hold this important responsibility. 

Literacy/Language Issues 

What if a patient doesn’t speak English? What if they struggle to understand the information that is provided on the board? This can lead to ineffective communication and other issues with treatment. 

The Solution

If patients cannot read the language that the whiteboard fields are printed in, there is a viable solution: changeable whiteboards. InHarmony Boards from Ghent Healthcare come with changeable inserts that can be easily swapped out on the fly. This allows facilities to have different cards printed in different languages, a useful feature for treating patients who do not speak English as a first language.  

Have concerns about using whiteboards in your facility? We want to hear what you have to say! Contact Ghent Healthcare today.