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Palomar Health Launches Smartphone App


Extension Healthcare and Palomar Health partner to deliver advanced communications

Palomar Health, the largest public healthcare district in California, today announced the release of its new smartphone application, the Extension Engage™ Mobile App, designed to directly connect physicians to nurses and patient information at Palomar Medical Center (PMC). The app is the product of a joint effort between Extension Healthcare and Palomar Health, combining technology from each to create this breakthrough in mobile healthcare communication.

Since the opening of the “Hospital of the Future” in 2012, Palomar Health has utilized Extension’s clinical workflow and communication platform to improve patient care and staff satisfaction. Most recently, PMC and Extension developed an entirely unique mobile app, in which the Extension platform integrates staff assignment data received from Rauland-Borg’s ResponderSync™ interface and patient data from Cerner’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) to provide key information to physicians directly on their smartphones. With this enhanced functionality, physicians using Apple and Android handheld devices can view their patient’s location and status, determine the attending nurse, and have the ability to call the assigned nurse’s Cisco handset directly from the smartphone app.

“One of the keys to improving the delivery of patient care is to ensure that all members of the healthcare team can communicate quickly and easily,” said Benjamin Kanter, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer at Palomar Health. “Whether in preparation for rounds in the hospital or when calling the hospital to check on a patient’s status, it can be difficult and time consuming for a physician to locate the responsible nurse.”

By filtering and assembling the relevant clinical information, PMC physicians have at their fingertips the ability to look up a patient by name or room number and click to call the patient room or assigned nurse directly, bypassing the need to be transferred through a PBX or answering system. This first-of-its-kind application provides an end-to-end method for immediately connecting nurses and physicians regardless of location while eliminating unnecessary steps and saving valuable time in the care team’s communication workflow.

“This simple functionality will significantly improve nurse-physician communication, physician satisfaction, and ultimately, patient care,” Dr. Kanter continued. “To the best of our knowledge, we are the first hospital in the country to implement anything like it.”
More than 50 physicians are using the Engage Mobile App at PMC, with additional doctors downloading the app every day.
“I’ve been using it daily for the past three weeks,” states Franklin Martin, M.D., Chair of Surgery for PMC. “I use it as I’m walking into the hospital to make my rounds. It’s an easy way to locate my patients in our large hospital. Before having the Extension app, I would have to log into our Electronic Health Record which was a cumbersome process. With the app, it’s only two quick steps and it definitely reduces frustration in my practice. When I’m outside the hospital, I rely on the app to contact my patients’ nurses. I know other physicians are happy that it works on both iPhones and Androids.”

Engage is the next generation alarm safety and event response platform and the foundation that supports the full range of Extension Healthcare’s advanced communication solutions. Phase I of PMC’s communications deployment integrated their Rauland Responder advanced nurse call system, Cerner EHR, and Cisco 7925 wireless phones with Engage to provide patient call alerts, clinical orders and teletracking alerts directly to the nurse.

“Palomar Health is a shining example of what the hospital of tomorrow looks like,” said Todd Plesko, CEO at Extension Healthcare. “Extension Healthcare is committed to working with our valued customers and partners to continue delivering unique solutions that expand upon the possibilities of the Engage platform.”

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