A byproduct of the Quality Assurance process is the continual review of individual and group practice. The aim is to eliminate errors and to improve care. For managers and directors to know what issues are currently important to the staff members an upward channel of communication is also needed. In our SICU with over 120 staff there was no documentation of communication in either direction. Casual survey did not reveal a major problem — but the need to document the dissemination of information, particularly new policies — especially to satisfy accrediting agencies — led us to develop MEMOS, an electronic mail system for staff members within the local area network (LAN) in the SICU. The system will run on an individual PC. The network is used because of the physical configuration of the intensive care units. The system is used by nurse managers to keep staff members up to date. Features include:
-Easy file maintenance.
-Individual password access.
-A defined group of system operators with access to all system functions
-Limited access to all other users.
-As many as 40 definable sub-groups for the purposes of mail distribution.
-Easy operator tallying of those delinquent in reading their mail.
-Hard copy with distribution list for all memos added to system.
-Browse feature to allow re-reading of old memos.
-Feedback channel regularly read by system operators.
This system has improved the level of staff awareness in the SICU and helped build morale.