VA creating tablet-based triage system for its ERs

The Veteran Health Administration is continuing its move to tablet-based clinical practice with new emergency room triage software the agency says will debut in August.

As part of its VA Employee Innovation Competition, VHA officials just chose DHSI Systems of Orlando, Fla., to create a system ER nurses can use to triage patients via touchscreen tablets, officials say.

The solution--ER Mobile--is basically a mobile upgrade of the call-center based triage service DHSI has provided to the VHA for more than 12 years. The system uses algorithms, written by physicians, to guide nurses through the patient's symptoms and diagnose their condition and acuity, according to company officials.

The algorithms are built on a 50,000-question library, with a decision-tree type system steering clinicians to recommendations on which patients need emergent care first. The in-person call-center process reportedly takes about eight minutes to complete. No word yet on how long it will take nurses to move through the mobile version.

The new tablet system will connect to the VHA's electronic health record system, giving nurses instant access to a patient's online medical records, and even real-time vital signs, to help with triage decision-making. It also will allow nurses to automatically order additional testing and resources, such as CT scans, X-rays, and blood tests, according to a company press release.

The deal could be a huge boost for DHSI as the VHA moves full-speed toward deploying 100,000 tablets to its medical centers across the U.S.

To learn more:
- check out the DHSI press release
- get detail from Healthcare IT News coverage