Nurse involvement in development of mHealth tools a sight for sore eyes

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital or emergency clinic setting knows that nurses are vital to successful patient interactions, data collection and healthcare assessments.

They're the ones doing the intake on health issues, taking blood pressure and temperature readings, asking a variety of questions while eyeballing a patient's demeanor and assessing pain issues. They are the front line before a physician arrives on the scene, as well as the back-end support, reviewing discharge instructions on everything from activity to prescription to insight on when to call regarding further issues.

So it only makes sense that nurses should play an integral role in the development of mobile health tools, as they know what's needed in the patient treatment and assessment process, the data that's critical for true evaluation and can gauge a patient's emotional status.

To that end, I was excited to read a recent article via Nurse.com that outlines nearly a half dozen efforts by nurses to develop mHealth apps and other similar systems. Author Janice Petrella Lynch, herself a registered nurse, reports on how nurses are helping to solve everyday patient treatment and management obstacles across a wide range of healthcare ailments and disease.

Four nurses and efforts she highlights include:

  1. Rebecca Schnall, PhD, RN, assistant professor of nursing, Columbia University School of Nursing in New York, who created an informatics tools to help patients better interact with providers and be more proactive in their own care
  2. Anne Teitelman, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, who built a computerized preassessment tool for hurdling barriers to preventing cervical cancer and a free downloadable app called "Now I Know"
  3. Nancy P. Hanrahan, who helped to coordinate a health tech incubator program for percolating ideas, innovations. It's already produced a mental health app specifically for college students and she's also developed a Web-based PTSD nurse toolkit involving an app to teach nurses about the condition
  4. Terri H. Lipman, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, who built a Web-based text/short messaging system for youngsters with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes

I've written before that nurses cannot be ignored when it comes to deployment of mobile health tools. What's more, my colleague, Dan Bowman, has expressed a similar sentiment when it comes to giving nurses a seat at the health IT development table. While nurse involvement in technology development, no doubt, is growing, I'm betting there are plenty of nurses who would love to participate in such efforts, but don't know where to start.

These nurses and many more deserve a round of applause for working to improve both the patient and the provider experience via mobile tool development. As Lynch aptly notes in her report, "healthcare professionals and organizations have only begun to scratch the surface of this avenue." - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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