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New tech aids St. Pete nurses

Mark Parker



Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is using a new mobile application that mitigates reliance on less portable work stations. Photos provided.

With a nursing shortage continuing to plague the state and nation, local healthcare officials are turning to technology to improve workflow efficiency and enhance patient care.

Bayfront Heath St. Petersburg has started a phased implementation of Rover, a mobile application that reduces time spent documenting patient information on a computer. Caregivers log into a hospital-issued iPhone 13 at the beginning of their shift and can enter and view records from their palms, which provides more time to focus on patients.

The app mitigates walking back and forth to a bulky workstation on wheels (WoW) cart typically shared by several caregivers throughout a department. Amy Bejerano, clinical assistant nursing manager for Bayfront, has tested Rover for about two weeks and is already realizing the benefits.

“It’s just like a portable WoW,” Bejerano said. “It’s really making it easier for us, especially towards the end of the day. You don’t need that whole thing, that big WoW, to be pulling around the whole day.”

A nurse enters information at a Workstation on Wheels (WoW). Photo: Epic Systems.

Rover uses the same electronic health record software – Epic – as the bulky cart. Caregivers can chart medication and enter or see vital signs, test results, orders and notes on the secure system.

Orlando Health, Bayfront’s parent company, distributed an initial supply of 220 iPhones with the app preinstalled. It also allows nurses to request lab work and collaborate with a patient’s care team through a chat feature.

Bejerano said she initially felt hesitant about using the new tech and thought the training class was somewhat confusing. However, she found its practical use less daunting.

She realized those fears were unfounded the more she used Rover during her shifts. Bejerano explained that storing the system in a pocket is much easier than walking to the end of the hallway to use the WoW anytime a doctor requests information.

Nurses keep the same phone throughout their shift, eliminating the need to repeatedly log in and out of the larger system. They turn the device in before they leave the hospital.

Bejerano said her unit received five or six iPhones and portable battery chargers. She noted that the app utilizes the same secure Wi-Fi network as the WoW rather than a cellular network.

“The more I use it, the more they (Bayfront officials) see how convenient it is for me,” Bejerano said. “Even the scanning part, it’s easier because it uses the camera on the cell phone.”

Medications and lab results typically feature barcodes for caregivers to scan into health record software. In addition to having the system in their pocket, Bejerano said the iPhone’s camera captures the information faster than the WoW’s scanner.

She appreciates the increased efficiency. Bejerano has worked on the same neurology floor for 20 years and said she couldn’t spend as much time bedside with an ever-increasing documentation workload.

“So, I think this is what they are trying to do to help,” she added. “To make it easier, so you have more time for bedside care. I just don’t know what exactly else they can do, though, to kind of help more.

“I think we just need more people, actually.”

Bayfront officials expect all units to utilize the app by late 2024 or early 2025. Kim Malinowski, senior director of nursing informatics for Orlando Health, said Rover would also bolster “patient safety capabilities” in the announcement.

For now, Bejerano looks forward to depending on the WoW less and spending more time next to her patients. She noted that providers must keep the bulky system out of the way as it blocks rooms and hallways and then return it after every use.

“I try to convince everybody to learn how to (utilize the app) because it’s really good,” Bejerano said. “It makes their life easier. It will make it easier.”






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