Vital Access: New Technology Connects Doctors to Patients 24/7
Article Date: Mar 3, 2010
If you ask Alegent Health Registered Nurse Carol Wilson she will tell you life just got a whole lot easier at the Bergan Mercy Maternity Center. The suites are in a brand new state of the art facility, with everything a new mom could want or need. But what you don’t see is just as important.
A doctor’s iPhone or Blackberry may look like just another cell phone – but the technology behind it is allowing doctors to monitor pregnant women 24/7 and exchange critical information with nurses even when they are miles away.
The program is called Airstrip-OB. With the touch of a smart phone, a physician can see a baby’s heart rate, a mom’s contractions and more from their home, their office, even the soccer field.
“We can tell a lot by a baby’s heart beat,” said Carol Wilson, RN. “We can tell if a baby likes being in labor, doesn’t like what we are doing, is stressed, is sleeping –so many things. If there’s a question we would call the doctor and describe that to them.”
Tracey van der Velde is in charge of AirStrip technology for Alegent Health. The system’s five hospitals are the first in the Midwest to use it.
“This has revolutionized how we can go that extra mile for patients,” said van der Velde.
Through Airstrip, doctors can track a woman’s progress in real time and get vital data at their fingertips.
“What’s really neat about this is we are going to add more and more pieces to it,” said van der Velde. “Not only heart tones, we can take any chart we have and say, ‘want to come over to the phone’. We can add that so they have freedom to make it user friendly for themselves and for the patients.”
The user-friendly technology made a complicated pregnancy that much easier for Dr. Michael Barsoom, director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Alegent Health and Creighton University and Associate Professor at Creighton University, to monitor. Through airstrip he kept close tabs on a high risk patient expecting quintuplets. Just before Christmas, the new mom brought home 5 healthy babies.
Alegent Health Clinic OB/GYN Dr. Guy Schropp says Airstrip gives patients and physicians peace of mind.
Airstrip is a secure program approved by the FDA and is HIPAA-compliant. Doctors like the technology so much, Alegent is considering using it in cardiology and radiology - one more way Alegent Health is staying ahead of the technology curve.