Tablet, app system boosts nurse-patient interaction, treatment experience

A Florida healthcare provider is tapping a mobile app and tablets to foster better communication among caregivers and enhance its patients' hospital experiences.

Several hospitals within the Tampa-based BayCare Health System are deploying a mobile software-tablet solution to nurse managers who visit patients daily to capture patient feedback and manage patient-related tasks. A patient and nurse manager discuss the hospital stay using a set of questions provided by the app, and the app's note function automatically sends an alert via email to the appropriate person or department for any follow-up task. The feedback can range from a complaint of the temperature of the room to discharge information.

The collected data is fed into a dashboard that provides a deep dive look at the patient's care and issues, explains Lisa Johnson, VP of patient services for Morton Plant Mease; Johnson serves as BayCare's executive leader for the project.

"Transitions of care are more smooth and that absolutely instills confidence in our patients and their families that we know their story, and that is invaluable," Johnson told FierceMobileHealthcare.

The app also enhances communication between nurse managers, as notes about a previous day's conversation automatically populate the device screen for that day's user. Nurse managers have clear views into tasks, patient history and even images through easy-to-navigate dashboards.

"Through the dashboards we can see where we have the greatest opportunities," Johnson says. "It's like a patient's diary; it gives us a true view into the patient's experience and helps our approach to meeting patient's needs and knowing their understanding of their condition, medications and overall situation and what barriers their might be to following their care plan."

Prior to the mobile approach, a nurse manager would document patient conversation and feedback with handwritten notes, a much more cumbersome and slower process.

BayCare is one of a growing number of hospitals tapping mobile tools to boost patient care, gain efficiency and drive higher quality communications among medical staff. As FierceMobileHealthcare reported last month, more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and or tablets. The expanding adoption is a prime reason the mHealth market was predicted to hit a $6.7 billion valuation by the end of 2014.

Johnson says deployment was so easy that her one 'do overs' with the project would have been to get it in place sooner.

"It's so easy to implement, that we would have accelerated the implementation because of the ease of use."