Twice as many physicians are using iPhones this year, compared to the number of physician-users from only one year ago, according to an April 14th news release by Manhattan Research, LLC—a pharmaceutical and healthcare market research firm. As we take a look at applications (“apps”) for fetal, heart, and general patient care, you may begin to see what they have to offer ‘twice as many’ of you.
Real-time updates for OB/GYNs
The AirStrip OB app, from AirStrip Technologies, offers a priceless service, even before a child is born. Using the iPhone, physicians receive real-time fetal heart tracings via the OB application. “If I can cut 5-, 10- or 15-minutes [off the time it takes to receive that data], that will make a dramatic difference in outcomes,” says end-user Bryan K. Iriye, MD, OB/GYN of Las Vegas, NV.
OBs log-in to the AirStrip server via their iPhones from anywhere they receive service. The application presents real-time waveform and other data including fetal heart tracings, contractions, patterns, nursing notes, vital signs, and exam notes. “The application displays the fetal strip, multiple pages of nursing notes, cervical exam status, patient name, room number, and other useful data,” says William Cameron Powell, MD, the president and chief medical officer of AirStrip Technologies.
When a hospital calls, Iriye logs-into AirStrip OB to interpretcurrent data. “If a patient is having contractions, I am able to give a therapy [medication], and then—before the nurse calls back—I can look at what the response is and determine whether I need to give more,” says Iriye.
Before AirStrip, if a patient had an abnormal fetal heart tracing, Iriye would have to wait for the fax. This could take 20- to 30-minutes. Now, he logs-in on the iPhone, views the tracing and instructs the nurse for immediate action.
Before AirStrip OB, doctors retrieved patient data by calling the nurses and asking them to describe the waveform or fax it over, Powell explains. Some doctors used PC-based solutions from perinatal vendors, Powell adds, though these are not widely adopted (doctors are not chained to PCs). “AirStrip OB was designed so that, when the demands of the doctor’s day periodically took him away from the hospital, he would have access to this critical data any place, at any hour,” says Powell.
Put into practice
Iriye once used the technology to monitor a patient having pre-term contractions. Physicians may give the indicated medication three times, but it carries the risk of increased heart rate. Iriye gave the medication after the patient’s tracing showed contractions. “I logged-in after 30 minutes and the tracing still showed some contractions, but they had decreased. I knew the patient’s pulse was elevated because I could see the vital signs. I knew I could not give the patient any more medication and that she was probably dehydrated. I called the nurse and said, ‘I see her pulse is high, so lets give her some hydration IV.’ The nurse asked, ‘How do you know this?’ I was just logging-in,” Iriye says.
Iriye has seen abnormal tracings where he has had to advise doctors to deliver the baby immediately. According to Iriye, it only takes 10- to 15-minutes for a bad heart tracing to cause damage—or 30 minutes for an abnormal tracing to potentially cause harm. “AirStrip OB provides me with immediate, accurate, real-time information. It enables me to provide care I could not have provided in the past because I would have to have been in every single hospital at the same time,” says Iriye. It also decreases liability and lawsuits because the doctor can recognize problems more quickly, and avoid them.
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