The Basics of Implementing Whiteboards in Emergency Departments

May 19, 2020

emergency room whiteboard

A hospital’s emergency department is one of the most fast-paced, chaotic areas of a facility. This is especially true for facilities located in dense urban areas, where incoming patient levels are high and teams need to work quickly to reduce wait times, all while providing the best level of care to all patients. This environment can result in a lot of confusion and miscommunication, which is why facilities seek to provide their trauma teams with everything they need to work quickly and efficiently while keeping the patient at the center of everything they do.

As treatment technology improves, so have coordination and communication aids like hospital whiteboards. New customization features allow hospitals to obtain a whiteboard that is specific to their facility and the patients they treat most regularly. Whiteboards can also be designed to foster communication with patients or increase coordination between care team members.

Why Use Whiteboards in Emergency Departments

Studies show that when whiteboards are implemented into emergency settings in hospitals, patient satisfaction scores had a significant increase. Hospital whiteboards with custom designed templates can help increase the efficiency of emergency room staff, coordinate patients as they come and go, and provide better, faster customer service on top of organized, quality healthcare. Further examination of emergency departments that implemented whiteboards into their daily workflow reveals that they safeguard against misunderstandings and errors, allowing teams to work more effectively.

The Two Major Types of Emergency Room Whiteboards

There are two major types of whiteboards that facilities are implementing within an emergency room setting:

  • Patient room whiteboards
  • Admissions whiteboards


Patient room whiteboards are specifically designed to be placed within individual treatment units within an emergency department. They are one-to-one treatment tools that nurses can use to work with patients who have not yet been admitted to hospitals. The overall design of these whiteboards includes spaces for a patient’s name, major complaint, symptoms, current pain level, and other information fields that are applicable to their current visit. They are designed to be placed within plain sight of patients and family members, who can interact with them and use them to ask questions or refer to specific information about the status of their admittance, their treatment and anything else they want to know about their visit.

Admissions whiteboards are designed to be used by nurses and emergency room staff while behind the scenes. They are an organizational tool that can help emergency and trauma care teams coordinate the:

  • Treatment and admission of patients
  • Overall patient flows
  • Materials and resource management
  • Status of lab tests
  • Nurse/physician’s shift schedules
  • Incoming/outgoing patients
  • Any other information that is relevant to the workflow of the department


These whiteboards are meant to be placed out of sight of patients and do not need to remain HIPAA compliant. They are for internal use only and can be designed to specifically help care teams coordinate with one another in order to increase efficiency, reduce errors/miscommunications and provide better care for incoming patients.

Information fields on these whiteboards are laid out based on the journey of the patient, beginning with when they were received, if they have been seen by a nurse, if they have been seen by a physician, if they are ready to receive x-rays/lab work, if they are awaiting test results, and if they will be admitted to a general patients room or are awaiting discharge. This general layout helps teams coordinate and document patient flow so that no one becomes lost in the mix.


How can we help you with your whiteboard solution? Get in touch with our team today!