Good Samaritan Society's Mobile Solution Aids Field Nurses

By  Kassandra Kania — August 21, 2007

Who: The Good Samaritan Society, an organization with 300 locations in 25 states that offers care, support services and housing for senior adults and others in need.

Challenge: The organization needed a mobile solution to enable its 3,500 field nurses to document patient progress and status information at the point of care.

"We were manually recording behavioral and dietary assessments, vital signs and activities for daily living for patients in long-term care or skilled nursing facilities," says Rusty Williams, VP of information services and technology. Overwhelmed workers hastily wrote down notes about their patients" respiration, heart rate and blood pressure on a scratch pad and often didn"t have time to reenter their notes into a centralized computer system.

Solution: To improve the quality of assessments and ensure thorough documentation, Good Samaritan decided to design its own application to capture the assessment process on PDAs. It partnered with Sybase to manage the solution using iAnywhere Afaria software. Because the PDAs would store confidential medical information, security and remote management of the device was paramount, and Afaria met these needs.

"We piloted the solution in six locations," says Williams. "At that point, assignments were downloaded to the handhelds and documentation was uploaded at a docking station. We determined that we needed to be more mobile, which led us to add the wireless component." Good Samaritan is in the process of transitioning to Windows-based devices, which are more conducive to their needs, and rolling out the application across the entire organization.

Now, nurses can quickly access their residents' applications on PDAs and complete their assessments. By tapping on the "vitals" module, for instance, workers can access a dropdown list to record a resident"s heart rate, blood pressure, etc. Information is then wirelessly transmitted to the server for the nursing staff to access and review.

Results: "The value of the implementation comes from being able to provide a higher quality of documentation," says Williams. "And when it comes to Medicaid reimbursement, quality is important." Quality of care has also improved as a result of more accurate documentation. "That information has to be communicated across nursing shifts," says Williams. "In our industry, the most important part of care is given by our certified nursing assistants. We want to empower them to be more successful in their jobs."

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