Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center remains tracker: A novel application for tracking decedents and improving the autopsy workflow

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, A711 Scaife Hall 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Correspondence Address:
Matthew A Smith
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, A711 Scaife Hall 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.82055

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All hospitals deal with patient deaths. Multiple departments and personnel must be coordinated to ensure that decedents are safely managed. Prior to 2004, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), when a patient passed away, the process of alerting involved personnel, transporting the decedent, and tracking the completion of clinical documents was cumbersome and inefficient. In order to address these concerns, UPMC Remains Tracker, a web-based application, was developed to improve the efficiency and simplify the logistics related to the management of patient deaths. The UPMC Information Services division developed UPMC Remains Tracker, an application that tracks decedents' locations, documentation status, and autopsy status within UPMC hospitals. We assessed qualitative improvement in decedent remains tracking, decedent paperwork management, and staff satisfaction and compliance. UPMC Remains Tracker improved the process of tracking decedents' locations, identifying involved personnel, monitoring autopsy requests, and determining the availability for funeral home transportation. Resident satisfaction with UPMC Remains Tracker was generally positive and scored as "Improved efficiency" and makes identifying and tracking decedents "Much easier". Additionally, the nursing staff reacted favorably to the application. A retrospective review of the use of the application in the management of 100 decedents demonstrated a 93% compliance rate. Among the cases requiring an autopsy, there was a 90% compliance rate. The process of tracking decedents, their paperwork, involved staff, and decedent autopsy status is often inefficient. This assessment suggests that incorporating new technologies such as UPMC Remains Tracker into the management of hospital deaths provides accurate tracking of remains, streamlines the administrative tasks associated with deaths, and increases nursing and resident satisfaction and compliance.

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