Hospital alliance aims to boost obstetrics care with mobile technology

By Bernie Monegain
10:37 AM

The Premier healthcare alliance has contracted with San Antonio-based AirStrip Technologies to offer its 2,200 hospital members mobile healthcare information technology to boost obstetrical (OB) care.

Premier's purchasing partners division is the first group purchasing organization to offer AirStripOB, which provides obstetricians and nurses with real-time, remote access to fetal and maternal waveform data such as fetal heart rate and maternal contractions.

The information can be accessed on mobile devices using cell phone connections, such as a BlackBerry, iPhone and a variety of Windows Mobile smart phones. The solution also provides hospital staff with the latest nursing notes, vital signs, order results and a host of other critical data from the hospital labor and delivery unit.

"In my opinion, this is an absolute must for obstetricians." said Lynn Simpson, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "If you can spend your whole day in labor and delivery, you may not need this program, but if you are like the rest of us, you cannot defend not having the ability to monitor fetal strips anywhere, anytime.

AirStrip OB is being used at more than 100 hospitals across the country, including the Cleveland Clinic and Texas Health Resources, both Premier alliance members.

"A number of Premier alliance member hospitals are successfully using the technology already," said Mike Alkire, president of Premier Purchasing Partners. "This relationship with AirStrip will ensure that more healthcare providers will be able to experience the benefits the technology provides."

Key advantages that have driven the deployment of AirStrip OB include its ability to increase patient safety, reduce risks, improve communication among caregivers, generate return on investment and improve the quality of life for obstetricians and nurses, Premier executives said. Users of AirStrip OB are able to view OB patient data anywhere they have a cell phone connection and can therefore reactively respond to a nursing question or patient concern, as well as proactively check in on what is occurring in the labor and delivery unit.

"The core purpose of Premier is to improve the health of communities, and we see great alignment with our AirStrip Technologies remote healthcare surveillance solution to help deliver measurable improvements in care throughout the Premier membership," said Cameron Powell, MD, Airstrip's co-founder and chief medical officer.

"AirStrip OB saves healthcare providers valuable time by reducing the amount of extra trips to and from the labor and delivery unit," said Kathy Connolly, RN, principal of women's services for Premier Consulting Solutions. "Constant patient data updates can improve the process and quality of care by helping to reduce communication errors, the number one cause of patient injury in a hospital."

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