At the HIMSS12 health care IT conference, Avaya introduced its Mobile Clinical Assistant messaging application, along with new unified communications and telehealth offerings.
Avaya, a developer of networking and unified
communications tools, unveiled a future health care iOS messaging tool along
with other new products at the HIMSS12 health care IT conference in Las Vegas.
The company showed its
Mobile Activity Assistant, an app that provides secure communication for nurses
and hospital staff through text messaging. It will be available initially on
iPhones and iPads, but Avaya plans to launch it on other mobile platforms in
about six to nine months, Sanjeev Gupta, general manager of Avaya Healthcare
Solutions, told eWEEK.
The application allows
nurses to send call alerts and receive critical notifications on patient
Avaya designed the product
after it received feedback from nurses on how they had to run back and forth to
their station to respond to call alerts rather than remaining with patients,
"Nurses did not have
enough time to spend on direct patient care because they [were] spending a lot
of time on other things like documentation and walking around," said
Gupta. "They want to be able to get all communications while they're on
the move, so they can spend more time with the patients rather than rushing
back to the nursing station."
With an app like Mobile
Activity Assistant, nurses can receive these alerts on their iPhone or iPad.
Using the messaging capabilities of the app allows nurses to balance multiple
tasks, such as admitting patients, collecting documentation from different
departments and keeping up with phone calls while still seeing patients, said
With the bring-your-own-device
(BYOD) phenomenon taking off in health care, doctors and nurses can
communicate using Mobile Activity Assistant on a personal or hospital-provided
device on the hospital's WiFi network, Gupta noted.
All messages on the Mobile
Activity Assistant are sent using secure "closed-loop" communications
that conform to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
guidelines, Avaya reported. Various health professionals involved in a
patient's careincluding doctors, nurses and therapistscan collaborate using
text messaging on an iPhone or iPad through Mobile Activity Assistant.
Mobile-Device Management Platform
A company called MobileIron offers a mobile-device
management platform that allows hospitals to preconfigure the Mobile Activity
Assistant for a health care environment. The platform allows hospitals to
create a specific marketplace to download the app rather than going through
iTunes. In addition to preconfiguring the device, hospital IT departments
can wipe the iPhone or iPad if it's lost or stolen, said Gupta.
Parkview Health, based in
northwest Indiana, has conducted a trial implementation of the Mobile Activity
Assistant on 60 iPhones to allow nurses to keep up with critical alerts on one
device and collaborate with other health care professionals. The hospital
system will expand to 670 iPhones by March, Avaya reported.
At the HIMSS conference,
Avaya also showed the Flare Communicator for the iPad, an app that allows
health care professionals to send instant messages and emails, as well as make
calls over WiFi or 3G. The app allows doctors and nurses to show their
availability, and enables doctors to share X-rays and lab results. Flare
Communicator also can be a communications hub for various specialists, such as
cardiologists and neurologists.
Avaya also demonstrated how
Media Manager allows health care professionals to seek out new patients
using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Doctors can also use the tool
if they're conducting research and need to seek out patients on a specific
topic, such as those who have undergone colonoscopies or are in smoking-cessation
groups, said Gupta.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.