Palomar’s app links docs to EHR

December 2, 2013 in Medical Technology

Franklin Martin, MD, checks his smartphone. Not for voice or email messages, but to locate patients and nurses – and often, a patient’s information. “I use it as I’m walking into the hospital to make my rounds,” Martin, chairman of the surgery department at the San Diego-based Palomar Medical Center, said in a statement, adding that the two steps it now takes to log into Palomar’s EHR eases that otherwise cumbersome process.

Martin is one of 50 Palomar physicians armed with Extension Engage Mobile and using it to look up patients, access their medical records, and either call the patient’s room or the assigned nurse directly. The software, which runs on both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android phones or tablets, leverages staff assignment data from Rauland-Borg’s ResponderSync interface and patient data from the hospital’s Cerner EHR to grant clinicians instant access to information via smartphones or tablets.

Palomar worked with Extension Healthcare to develop the Extension Engage Mobile App and also deployed Extension’s clinical workflow and communication platform at Palomar Medical Center – its $1 billion “Hospital of the Future,” which opened in 2012 – and has since opened a Glassomics incubator at the hospital that studies the healthcare potential for Google Glass and certain so-called “smart watches.”

“One of the keys to improving the delivery of patient care is to ensure that all members of the healthcare team can communicate quickly and easily,” said Benjamin Kanter, MD, Palomar Health’s chief medical information officer, in the statement. “Whether in preparation for rounds in the hospital or when calling the hospital to check on a patient’s status, it can be difficult and time consuming for a physician to locate the responsible nurse.”

Claiming that “to the best of our knowledge,” Palomar is the first hospital to implement a solution like this, Kanter added that Extension Engage Mobile will improve nurse-physician communication, which promises to yield better patient care by bringing the team together regardless of physical location.

“When I’m outside the hospital,” Martin added, “I rely on the app to contact my patients’ nurses.”

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