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Telemetry Care: Cue smartphone alerts

· Kim Tucker,

On a recent visit back to the Pacific Northwest, I visited with a long-time friend and nursing colleague who is responsible for running a simulation lab at a regional medical center. As we toured her area at the hospital, I suddenly got blast of déjà vu. Surprise, her department turned out to be the old cardiac telemetry care unit where I once worked as a per diem RN. Memories of rushing up and down those hallways to care for my patients flowed back. So what do these memories have to do with smartphones?

When I returned to work, I was getting an update on a highly successful project with one of our clients when those memories returned in full force and with no little amount of jealousy! For you see, in my days working cardiac telemetry, our unit was state of the art! We carried around these rather bulky phones that were constantly interrupting us with one line messages that the monitor in 406 or 412, or 423 was alarming. We would then have to head back to the nurses’ station to look at the monitor or go directly to the patient’s room and look at that monitor in order to assess what was happening and why the alarm was going off. And about 99% of the time it was nothing to get excited about.

Fast forward to 2015 – the client project I mentioned is a smartphone based implementation. Nurses are using the PatientTouch clinical suite of products to not only communicate via voice and secured texting and using the same device to do their barcoded medication scanning, but now the applications are integrated to the telemetry monitors and ventilators. They are getting pictures of the rhythm strips or other data when the alert is triggered!smartphone alerts

PatientSafe partnered with Draeger and Connexall to take clinical mobility to a new level. Notifications of patient alerts such as out-of-range blood pressure, oxygen saturation and heart rate from a ventilator, telemetry, and vital sign monitoring are now delivered directly to clinicians on their PatientTouch smartphone. The alert is routed based on availability, care role, assignment, and priority to the appropriate clinician to avoid untimely interruptions and minimize alert fatigue. Alerts in PatientTouch Communications will be escalated per pre-developed rules in their Connexall system.

One pocket-sized device with a single application that is used to communicate about care, complete medication administration and receiving alert messages – talk about device envy! The old “tele” nurse in me is jealous and so impressed.

And this client’s next initiative is to integrate their nurse call system – not surprising, nursing satisfaction is spiraling skyward.

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