Information to Omit from Patient Room Whiteboards

Jun 08, 2020

Marshall Browning Hospital whiteboard

Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted and research papers written on the effectiveness and usage of patient room whiteboards. There’s a lot of research and conversation about the specific information fields and features that can be placed on whiteboards. Some of these are “must haves”, but many fields and features still exist that do not provide a high level of interaction and communication. When real estate is tight on a whiteboard surface, it’s important to include only information fields and features that that enhance the patient experience.  

These are a few things that may be best left off the patient room whiteboard. 

Excessive Patient Information

In general, most whiteboards for most situations only need room for the patient’s name. This helps remind new care team members remember who they are working with when they enter a room. A first name (or even preferred name/nickname) is usually sufficient, and a lot of room can be saved by leaving off the patient’s full name, the reason for their stay, and other information. Not only does this save space, but it limits certain HIPAA liability and concerns as well. 

All important information about patients can still be accessed via their digital records or on a patient’s chart. 

Discharge Date 

Discharge date is a common field that is slowly falling out of favor in many facilities. This is generally because discharge date is not set in stone, it is often an estimation. While seeing a potential discharge date on whiteboard can bring some motivation and comfort to patients, they can ultimately be left in disappointment if they are moved back days or even weeks. 

Instead of discharge dates, many facilities are instead using discharge goals. Discharge goals still motivate patientsallowing them to be more involved in their care and keep their spirits high, but they also eliminate the chances of disappointment that can be brought with missed target dates. 

Fancy (i.e. Hard to Read) Fonts 

While whiteboard customization allows for virtually any font to be used, not all of them are effective choices for patient room whiteboards. While some fonts are stylistic and match a company’s brand, they may be hard for patients to read, especially from across the room. These types of fonts can be used in company logos, but they may not be the best choice for information field headers, notices, etc. 

Large Images 

Images make great additions to whiteboard, especially in pediatric hospitals and other healthcare settings that need a special touch of color and visual stimulation. However, it’s important to consider the amount of space they take up on a whiteboard’s surface. When space is limited, it’s best for priority to be given to information fields and space for writing. 


Need help finding the perfect mix of information fields, imagery and other design elements for your whiteboard? Contact Ghent Healthcare today.