UPMC, IBM team on SmartRoom solution to give nurses access to mobile data

A number of solutions help physicians view clinical data extracted from hospital information systems on their mobile devices. But until recently, nurses did not have comparable automation tools, although they provide the bulk of inpatient care.

Now the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), in partnership with IBM, has announced its SmartRoom application, which provides patient information online to nurses and other authorized hospital staff members.

Using ultrasound tags worn by hospital personnel, the SmartRoom application identifies a staff member on a wall monitor when he or she walks into a patient room. It also provides the staff member with selected information about the patient, depending on the employee's role and tasks. For example, a nurse would see real-time data in the hospital's electronic medical record on a patient's problems, vital signs, test results, and medications that are due. A person who delivers meal trays would see only dietary orders and allergy information.

Using a touch screen monitor, a nurse or aide can quickly document in the EMR that she performed certain tasks. That action relieves the nurse of the need to document her activities when she returns to the nurse's station.

"Hospitals have made significant investments in their electronic medical records," said Dan Pelino, general manager, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences. "The SmartRoom solution allows hospitals to increase the value they get from these systems and to close the gap between the EMR and the bedside to deliver smarter health care. The results of the initial pilots are exciting, showing that documentation errors can be reduced, safety can be improved, productivity can be increased and the cost of the patient's stay can be lowered."

So far, the SmartRoom solution has been tested in two UPMC sites. The healthcare system and IBM together invested $50 million to develop the solution over the past five years. While UPMC owns SmartRoom, IBM has exclusive rights to sell it to other healthcare systems.

To learn more:
- see the UPMC/IBM press release
- read this article in MedHealthWorld