You read the title correctly, and it's true that in the unfortunate event that you have to stay in a hospital room you may have a COW in there with you. Now, I know what you're thinking, "how can this be sanitary? Or how will I be able to sleep with a cow mooing all the time?" Well rest assured that there will not be an actual living, breathing, cud chewing cow in your room. The acronym COW stands for Computer On Wheels, and it's an essential component of the hospital's technology system for inputting information into the electronic medical record for a patient.
|This is what a COW looks like. |
The image can be found here.
The COW also comes into play when dispensing medication from the pharmacy. Each time a medication is administered to a patient the nurse uses his or her log in, then a series of barcodes are used to make sure the right patient is getting the right drug at the right time. The COW has a scanner and when each patient is admitted to the hospital he or she receives an individualized barcode. The medication also has a barcode or a QR code on it. The nurse scans his or her personal barcode so there is a record of who administered the medication, then the nurse scans the patient's barcode, then scans the code on the medication. If all of these match, then the medication can be administered. If they don't match, then there has been an error at some point and the medication is not given until this error is resolved.