By Stefanie Dell’Aringa
If there’s a faster way of doing something, there’s one New York nurse who will use technology to accomplish it. Robert “Robbie” Freeman, MSN, RN-BC, clinical nurse specialist-quality at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, has the apps to prove it.
“Robbie has come up with some very innovative, extremely beneficial plans that we’ve implemented on our unit,” said med/surg renal unit staff nurse Basya Bloch, RN-BC.
Freeman saw a need to improve paper reports at the end of a shift to meet his facility’s alloted 15 minutes for the task, so he became an app developer.
“If you’re giving a report on six or seven patients, that’s only two minutes per patient,” Freeman said. His tech skills recently led to Freeman winning the Technological Innovations Award in the New York Times’ Tribute to Nurses program for apps he developed to help nurses work more efficiently. Freeman partnered with IT vendor Konnarock Healthcare and taught himself the database management language SQL to develop an app called Nurse Handoff.
“Basically, we built this report with IT that can pull out all the relevant information automatically, and the nurse can give a handoff right off the computer,” Freeman said.
How it works
The app is secure and accessible through hospital computers and tablets. Nurses sign in to access patients on their unit, then enter data in various fields, such as type of diet, mobility and IV location. During the report, a nurse can highlight details including changes in pain level and fluid gain or loss.
“It consolidates all of the important information on one screen,” Bloch said. “This technology helps keep patients safe, saves time and improves outcomes.”
It’s such a quick app, with data no older than about 15 minutes, Freeman said. “It will [cover] every piece of information we give during handoff.”
Because of the time saved, Freeman said nurses can spend more time discussing patient goals during handoff at changes of shift.
“The goal may be to get that patient up twice to walk,” Freeman said. “This [app] gives time back to the nurses to exchange conversation about the patient.”
Freeman piloted the app on the med/surg unit where he used to work and plans on expanding use to other units and facilities. He also has developed Nurse-Net, an iPhone app providing nursing news; Abbreviation Assistant, a listing of more than 100,000 medical abbreviations; and Credential Assistant, a list of nursing credentials and abbreviations.
He is working on an app he calls Daily Huddle for nurse managers to use with staff, and a skin survey app for wound care nurses.
“What gets me excited is to take data and put that into a form that’s usable and actionable and that can improve patient care,” Freeman said. He was promoted in 2014 to a management position in quality nursing, a role where he can tap into technology further.
“It seems that healthcare is one of the best cases for using Google Glass,” Freeman said. “It’s hands-free, and having the information available is really a plus for working in healthcare.”
Interim CNO Margaret Amato-Hayes, MSN, RN, NE-BC, called Freeman “a breath of fresh air. He’s always thinking of ways to make things easier, quicker and more efficient for nurses so they can spend more time at the bedside.”
Stefanie Dell’Aringa is a freelance writer.