Even though patient records systems have been digitalised, much of the work in hospitals is still done with pen and paper.
Cambio is changing this with a mobile version of the COSMIC healthcare information system, resulting in major savings in time, patients who are more involved and a stronger team spirit among healthcare staff.
“Everyone who works in healthcare has a piece of paper in their pocket where they have listed the patients they will be seeing that day and the treatment they will give,” says nurse Ida Johansson at the Central Hospital in Karlstad. “This piece of paper has now been replaced by a pocket-size tablet computer.”
The reason Ida Johansson and her colleagues can now abandon their pieces of paper is the introduction of a mobile version of the hospital’s healthcare information system, Cambio COSMIC. The nurses now have access to patient records via an app on a tablet they carry with them. Through the tablet, nurses have constant access to the information in the records and can also enter new information at the patient’s bedside.
At present the COSMIC app is used by seven Swedish county councils and assessments suggest that it is a major time-saver. In Enköping, for example, nurses reported daily savings of between 50 and 90 minutes per user.
At the Central Hospital in Karlstad, the COSMIC app has been tested on two wards to date, and Ida Johansson is currently a member of the group planning its implementation in the rest of the hospital. She, too, has experienced considerable benefits from the system in day-to-day work. Above all, she and her colleagues save considerable time by no longer needing to go to a desktop computer, for instance to enter measurements in the patient’s record. Moreover, there is now less of a risk of losing information that would otherwise have been communicated verbally or written down on paper.
“We can also assign jobs to nurses and assistant nurses using the tablet,” says Ida Johansson. “So, if an assistant nurse is to check a patient’s weight or blood pressure, I can immediately see in the app when this has been done and I don’t need to ask. I can also see what everyone on my team is doing and can even keep track of other groups to see if they need help.”
When Cambio developed the mobile version of COSMIC, a key objective was precisely to improve interaction between staff. According to Johanna Hultcrantz, product manager at Cambio, the intention was to create a technical aid that not only made work easier but also made each staff member’s work visible.
“It was great hearing the spontaneous comment from users, that it had actually turned out the way we had imagined and that this technology reinforced social relationships,” she says.
Another, less predictable, advantage of accessing the healthcare information system via a tablet is that the patients have become more involved with their care. Ida Johansson feels that it has become easier for patients to ask questions and learn about their treatment, because the nurses always have patient records with them and can enter new information.
Thanks to the major efficiency gains, Cambio has also noticed that users now want to add more and more functions to the app. Ida Johansson, for instance, can see a major development potential in adding tasks to the mobile data flow that are not directly related to patients.
“Much of what we do is not related to patients,” says Ida Johansson. “It could be anything from checking equipment to watering plants. There are many small to-do tasks every day that someone has to take care of and we would like to get these into the tablet so that we can assign these as well.”
According to Johanna Hultcrantz, the growing demand for mobility is a clear sign that Cambio’s strategy is right for the times. Unlike many other suppliers, Cambio decided to do more than just recreate its existing healthcare information system on a mobile platform.
“Our applications are tailored for use in mobile situations, in terms of both functionality and design,” says Johanna Hultcrantz. “Other suppliers claim to offer mobile support for their healthcare information systems, but ours is designed for mobility first instead of taking an existing computer system and running it on tablets. This may sound like the obvious approach but that is not the case. The time savings and the quality improvements we have seen thus far are opening up entirely new opportunities within healthcare, including creating more time for patients, having more permanent staff or reducing the number of agency staff. We can see considerable potential here and believe that before long the majority of the use of Cambio’s healthcare information system will be via mobile apps.”
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