Introducing apps to clinical workflows
At the Hôpital du Valais, doctors and nurses rely on desktop computers or laptops on trolleys to access patient information and perform clinical tasks. However, the hospital had decided to run a pilot-project to understand how mobile phones could streamline processes and enhance communication.
Are mobile phones just gadgets or can they improve workflows?
Rather than replicating the entire medical record on a mobile device, we focused on utilizing unique mobile phone features like the camera, barcode scanner, and mobility to enhance specific workflows. This approach enabled us to develop a lean mobile application for a pilot project, offering a few shared devices on each floor that nurses could access when performing the targeted task.
Understanding nurses’ workflows
I had the chance to immerse myself in the daily routines of nurses for a week, I observed their tasks and engaged in insightful coffee break conversations. Some of the challenges I have observed:
- Digital and non-digital task switching: Nurses often switch between digital and non-digital tasks, sometimes resorting to temporary paper notes due to time constraints or limited computer availability.
- Inadequate hardware: Nurses rely on laptops on trolleys as their primary mobile devices. However, these trolleys are not designed for transporting medical supplies, forcing nurses to maneuver multiple trolleys and equipment, creating inefficiencies and hindering their mobility.
- Task- instead of patient-based workflows: Workdays are organized by tasks rather than patients, resulting in nurses completing one task (e.g.: handing out medication) for all patients before moving to the next task.
- Nurse-devised workarounds: To compensate for technology limitations, nurses print patient lists and take notes on paper throughout the day.
Streamlining the blood transfusion workflow with mobile technology
The blood transfusion process involves multiple identity checks, traditionally requiring two nurses to ensure patient safety. Additionally, space constraints at the patient's bedside and the need to maneuver two trolleys – one with equipment and one with a laptop for documentation – add to the complexity.
Our mobile app leverages barcode scanning to streamline identity checks, enabling a single nurse to quickly verify patient and blood product details, enhancing both speed and patient safety. The app also eliminates the need for a laptop trolley, reducing clutter and improving maneuverability.
The mobile app's design seamlessly aligns with the desktop application for blood transfusions, ensuring a consistent user experience.