Speech-powered iPad software aims to streamline ED tasks

An emergency department physician at Ashland [Ore.] Community Hospital is creating new software for the iPad that allows clinicians to document notes, narratives and other information without keyboards, according to a story in Healthcare Informatics this week. The system--Sparrow EDIS--is natively developed for Apple device and has speech-recognition at its core.

Creator Brian Phelps tells Healthcare Informatics that the system has physician order entry, basic clinical documentation, patient education, discharge planning and prescribing functionality. Phelps says he chose the iPad for its ease of use in busy, fast-paced EDs where PC- or laptop-based systems can hamstring clinician workflow.

"It's disruptive to find a PC to log into," in the ED, he tells Healthcare Informatics. "It can take up to 50 keystrokes just to get to the record. Details can start to fall away during all the unintuitive clicking."

Phelps has been testing the program at his hospital, and in April won $160,000 in venture funding as the winner of the Southern Oregon Angel Investments contest, according to an article in the Mail Tribune.

Still, it's early days for the technology yet, Phelps admits. Ashland signed on as a beta-tester because of deep discounts and vendor support. Getting that first market customer may be tough, but he's confident he has created an ED product that works within workflows in a way that will bring customers to the table.

"This offers the possibility for small and mid-sized hospitals to have the technical sophistication of a large academic medical center," he says. "And if it can get clinicians eager to do CPOE, I think it would be hard to find a CIO that wouldn't be interested in that."

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Informatics piece
- here's the Mail Tribune story

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