A healthcare IT startup has developed a mobile collaboration solution to improve communication between the team of doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals associated with a patient’s care to reduce medical errors.
Scott Guelich, a software developer who also has a medical degree, co-founded Care Thread 12 months ago to address problems where they happen most — when a patient is handed off to another healthcare professional. He spoke to MedCity News at the Health 2.0 Spring Fling conference in Boston this week.
Users can click on a patient’s name to reveal a list of people involved with that patient’s care, showing their picture by their name. Users can send messages to each other and one thread displays them so everyone on that team can see them.
For example, if a patient develops a fever or is in pain, a doctor can request a medication order be changed.
Another component provides updates when medication and room changes are made, and delivers lab and radiology results to mobile devices when they are ready. The powerful activity alert feature allows providers to set audio alerts that sound the moment an awaited lab value returns.
The tool is currently available for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch. It is also developing support for Android models 2.2 or later and Blackberry 5.0 or later models that are expected to be ready sometime this summer. The tool also works with a web browser. The company does enterprise licensing and sells the product to hospitals, integrating it with their systems.
The company is part of startup accelerator Betaspring‘s spring class in Providence, Rhode Island.
A precursor to Care Thread was Guelich’s TextPage, launched in 2010 through the iTunes store, which allowed users to send text messages to alphanumeric pagers from an iPhones, iPad, or iPod Touch.
The tool is the focus of a study by a Harvard-affiliated clinician that will look at how to improve communication among care providers in an in-patient medicine setting.
“There’s a need for a collaborative platform to get information to doctors and nurses who are on their feet all the time — they need something that’s mobile,” Guelich said.
Improving handoffs was one of the goals of a 2010 initiative by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcares. It singled out hand-off communications as a critical area in need of improvement. About 70 percent of adverse events are caused by poor communication. Every transition of care can be risky because it often depends on important information needing to be communicated from one caregiver to another and from one institution to another.
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