Hospital Housekeeping Systems, an Austin, Texas-based company that provides outsourced cleaning and linen services to health care facilities, has built custom applications for the Apple iPad and iPhone using cloud computing leader Salesforce.com's Force.com open-standard Cloud 2 platform to help facilities in 20 states assess the quality of their services in the cloud.
Cloud 2 is the next generation of Salesforce.com cloud applications and incorporates social and mobile technology. The Force.com platform includes cloud products such as the application building tool Appforce and Website builder Siteforce.
"Cloud computing platforms such as Force.com are powering the next generation of business applications that run on any device, including iPads, Android devices and smartphones," Ariel Kelman, Salesforce.com's vice president of product marketing, wrote in an email to eWEEK.
Hospital Housekeeping Systems manages housekeeping and patient flow for 140 hospitals in the United States. The goals of the housekeeping firm's Force.com applications, IQ System and BedWatch, are to get patients into rooms faster, improve clinical outcomes and boost hospitals' bottom line, Salesforce.com reports. Salesforce.com and Hospital Housekeeping Systems announced the new applications on May 11.
IQ System is a quality-management application that allows mobile managers to track the performance of cleaning personnel in real time, improve patient satisfaction and log maintenance issues on their Apple device in the cloud without client hardware.
"What we've done is leapfrogged this whole client server idea and gone straight to the cloud model, where people record the information straight from their handhelds," Steve Jourdan, chief information officer for Hospital Housekeeping Systems, told eWEEK.
Health care facilities are able to save thousands of dollars without heavy-duty client hardware, Jourdan added.
"This is something we can roll out to many hospitals, and we didn't want to have to install additional hardware and have to build the infrastructure and put in resources to be able to support all of that extra hardware," he said.
"And as soon as they hit the Save button, it's automatically up in the cloud and available for people to report and take action on. That's great for us because we have a very decentralized model, but all of our hospitals are spread around the country," Jourdan noted.
With Hospital Housekeeping Systems' apps built around patient satisfaction, the company is mindful of the government's push to offer Medicare incentives in exchange for positive health outcomes.
Issues to log include a high amount of dust or a bed not being cleaned.
"We use those objective measures to provide feedback and additional training to our cleaning staff members, Jourdan said. "We also roll that data into nice reports and dashboards so we can identity trends, both positive and negative."
IQ System allows managers at Hospital Housekeeping Systems to see trends in performance among different facilities and teams. Key factors to watch using IQ System include cleaning quality and patient satisfaction, according to Jourdan.
Meanwhile, BedWatch allows cleaning staff at the company to track patient flow from room to room as well as view the various statuses of multiple hospitals throughout the country on one screen. The software integrates with hospitals' admission systems.
When patients enter a hospital, BedWatch allows the clinical staff to see which beds are available. BedWatch can reduce the lag time between when a patient leaves the hospital and when an exam room is cleaned, Jourdan said.
"Patient throughput is one of those huge deals in the hospital," he explained.
Workers can monitor the cleaning status of rooms on their iPad. When an attendant cleans a room, BedWatch can change the status of the room within the mobile app from "dirty" to "ready." The app's dashboard also features color coding for status and time stamps to mark when a room was cleaned and how long it took to clean a room.
"It looks great on an iPhone or iPad, and people walking around can see the status of hospital beds in real time without having to be tied to a desk," Jourdan said.