By Tom Sullivan, Executive Editor, HiMSS Media

PatientSafe to unveil updated software suite within ruggedized handheld at HiMSS15.

Communication. It’s hard. That holds as true for doctors, nurses and patients in healthcare settings as anywhere else.

Among the innovators working to modernize how care teams collaborate in and out of the hospital, PatientSafe solutions will be showing updates to its PatientTouch Clinical Communications software stack at HIMSS15 in Chicago.

“We’ll be introducing a series of capabilities that allow for voice, text, pictures, images, and PatientTouch alerts,” said PatientSafe CEO Joseph Condurso.

PatientTouch alerts can be generated from bedside nurse call systems or triggered by ancillary data sources, such as lab results, and then sent to a clinician. From there the PatientSafe software can be used to track response time, patient context and what intervention took place.

Another new feature is PatientTouch smart tasks, which Condurso explained as events or workflows that must be completed by either the patient or a member of the care team, such as a patient stepping onto a scale or taking medications.

“These tasks can be prompted and put into an inbox notification as part of the communication sequence so you can instrument care process, care design,” Condurso said. “And it can direct the patient accordingly.”

The overarching goal is to make care teams aware of all the actions and conditions and care processes happening around a patient in a situational- and contextual-aware fashion at any given time.

To make that happen the client applications sync with a database and business logic on the server side. And clinicians access that either via the cloud or a local wireless network by using the currently available PatientTouch handheld — an FDA-certified ruggedized “jacket” that fits around an iPhone running iOS, pre-loaded with a suite of apps and provisioned with a barcode imager that can read1-D and 2-D barcodes for scanning elements such as medications, wristbands, user ID badges or IV bags. PatientSafe claims the field battery runs for 12-14 hours, enough to last a full nursing shift.

It’s also completely waterproof, Condurso said, submersible for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter without allowing any water ingress.

Looking beyond this year at HIMSS15, PatientSafe is working to incorporate features into its stack that link electronic health records systems to modern mobile technologies to enable collaborative communication so care teams have digital visibility into a patient, inside the hospital or out, and actionable data during the encounter.

Condurso said he’s looking closely at different wearable platforms and the Apple iWatch.

“That’s on the early edge of discussions,” Condurso said. “It’s an awesome opportunity in terms of mobile computing and next-generation healthcare IT.”

Read more at HITN @HIMSS15