VA centers test mobile tech for home-based nurses

By Bernie Monegain
09:28 AM

The VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Birmingham, Ala., an acute tertiary care facility, will provide nurse case managers with integrated mobile electronic health records. The technology will make it possible for home-based primary care nurses to schedule case loads as well as access and input patient information.

The technology, called HB Mobile, was developed by Juneau, Fla.-based DSS, Inc. The Veterans Integrated Service Network 7 (VISN 7) selected the Birmingham center in August 2009 as the alpha test site for HB Mobile.

"With an average of 35 to 55 home visits a month, preparing, organizing and reconciling home care records can be overwhelming," said Mark Byers, President and CEO of DSS. "HB Mobile was specifically developed to simplify critical data mobility, helping VAMCs to streamline healthcare workflow, eliminate unsecure paper notes and improve patient safety."

Before HB Mobile, the Birmingham home-based primary care team had to print and hand-carry a patient's medical record in order to have access to vital clinical information while at a patient's home. Home-based providers would also have to take time to manually schedule appointments and transcribe notes after each visit, limiting productivity.

Through the use of HB Mobile, Birmingham home-based nurses are able to eliminate unnecessary steps – saving on time, paper and overall cost, and reducing duplication of work, said Julie Yost, DSS product line manager.
HB Mobile allows patient information to be directly transferred from the CPOE module of the VA's electronic health record, VistA, onto a tablet PC. The system makes it possible for  the provider to:

  • Create schedules for the team and patient;
  • Access patient records while working remotely using mobile mode;
  • Document notes using structured templates and free-form text notes;
  • Record vitals on location;
  • Reconcile medications.

Patient information automatically pre-populates encounter notes from data contained within the CPOE module. With task-specific e-forms, providers are able to capture structured data and short narrative notes quickly. Clinicians follow a consistent, program-driven series of data capture screens, ensuring that each encounter is fully documented before the clinician leaves to achieve 100 percent documentation compliance.

Following approval on Sept. 2, 2010 by the Birmingham VAMC, three other facilities in VISN 7 were selected as beta sites, and began testing the program. Two of the three centers are in Georgia - Augusta and Atlanta. The third is in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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