Friday, October 22, 2010

Cool Technology of the Week

Last week, I met with Patientsafe Solutions, a San Diego-based startup founded by serial entrepreneur James Sweeney.

Their idea is simple - leverage the iPod Touch 4G form factor and the iOS 4 SDK to create an all in one mobile device for healthcare.   Their work thus far has included medication management workflow including bedside medication verification and electronic medication admission records.   Their future vision encompasses numerous aspects of nursing workflow, pre-admission testing, admission, discharge and home care.

Here's an overview of their initial PatientTouch product.

In the past, nurses have told that they really did not want to carry devices, which have the potential for getting in the way of the nurse-patient interaction.

Today, the ubiquity of smart phones makes the notion of carrying a pocket sized device more palatable.

Imagine one device that is rugged, lightweight, secure, and easily cleanable for supporting medication workflow (positive patient ID, eMAR, medication verification),  laboratory workflow (positive patient ID, front end labeling),  alerts/reminders, and voice over IP communications via hospital WiFi networks.

An iPod touch in every clinician's pocket, fully connected to hospital information systems and other caregivers.   That's cool.


Miguel Vilaplana said...

Cool? Yes, but how "durable" can an iPod Touch be in a hospital setting?... I do not know becuase I don't have any of those devices, but have touched and used from friends: cool as an end user and YES wishing iPod-like to be in the clinical setting but the iPod itself?. I am not sure if something as simple as a case could be the solution (durability + easy cleaning/disinfection).
on another point, though, if Mr Sweeney backs it... we should at least hear it carefully. His track record as CEO/entrepreneur is impressive.

Anonymous said...

My drooling toddler plays with my iPad on a hardwood floor. 5 months, no problem. If it can withstand her abuse, it can withstand a hospital.

Carla C said...

IPOD touch is pretty rugged - my 9 year old has dropped his at least a dozen time and it's still ticking at 1 yr plus. It has also been dropped at least once in the toilet so I have experience in the cleaning and sanitizing department too! The Patientsafe device I saw had an impressive "protective case" that held a scanner and also a long life battery. Agree that Sweeney has the Midas touch.

Miguel Vilaplana said...

Thanks guys:
5-month toddler-resistance and toilet drop-resistance are pretty much the definitive test, I agree.

BTW, about Cool technology: have you seen Kinect from Microsoft? Will arrive soon to market, and intended as a extra for your Xbox console. However, I'd love to know more about their voice-recognition technology, it may give more accuracy to the one currently used in hospitals. Let alone the gesture-recognition technology which may be a breakthrough when reaching out from the living room.
Examples: adjusting light or being offered the right scalpel by a robot, using surgeon's voice?, ppt presentation in which you could "move" figures/charts, with gestures?. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the new Macbook Air vs the previous generation?

Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk said...

I have been doing research into the iPod Touch and educational apps used in K-12, both for special ed and mainstream classrooms. There is a vibrant community out there discussing issues such as privacy, security, portability, durability. In many cases the kids are now being allowed to take them home. The devices are holding up well to all sorts of unpredictable events and because they are so easy to stuff in a pocket, they become a part of their natural learning environment. I think that speaks well to the cross over possibilities in health care application.

Rob Tweed said...

There's nothing I see in their application that couldn't have been done much more quickly and cost-effectively as an HTML5-based web app. It would look identical and behave identically. eg See

Of course the real trick is to have the same app(s) available via iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry AND desktop. Take a look at what Sencha are doing in this regard, again exploiting HTML5. Native iOS4 apps just aren't the way to go for true mobility.

The Traveler said...

My daughter is getting her BSN and started clinicals. This was a REQUIRED by the school.

Caston Thomas @ Voalté said...

Working for a developer of an iPhone/iPad/IPod specifically designed for the point of care, we have found the devices to be surprisingly durable. One example... In our first pilot over a year ago, we deployed 80 iPhones/iPods (with an added protective screen coating and protective battery case so that the device would last an entire shift). In the first six months of the deployment, we did not lose a single device due to theft, damage, or "forgetfulness" (loss).

We attribute the results to the nurses' care for their devices as much as the construction of the devices themselves. One thing that we knew would be important would be the logistics of what happens at the beginning/end of each shift. (The devices are hospital-owned and the devices are assigned to each unit/department.) Again, we've been astounded at nurses' willingness to take personal responsibility for the devices during the course of their shifts. Nurse's have intuited the value of the devices to improve their personal and unit workflow, so that is definitely a factor in how the devices are treated. How the technology is introduced & rolled-out to the staff must be factored into your deployment plans. Users embracing the technology is absolutely critical to improving the life of the devices.