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The Use of a Mobile Application to Track Process Workflow in Perioperative Services

HUYNH, NATHAN PhD; TAAFFE, KEVIN PhD; FREDENDALL, LARRY PhD; BURRIS, ROBERT BS; CHILDERS, ASHLEY KAY MS; LIVINGSTON, JENNA BSN, RN; DILLER, TOM MD, MMM

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e31820662ab
Feature Article
Abstract

This article discusses the data collection tool developed to investigate how patient flow is affected by the delivery of different types of care within Perioperative Services. To better understand the Perioperative Services processes, this study tracked staff members as they perform their activities. A challenging aspect of documenting the processes observed while tracking the Perioperative Services staff is to record the specific times and order in which the activities took place. The Perioperative Services is a fast-paced, dynamic environment where the staff members often perform multiple tasks that may also be interrupted, and each staff member may perform these tasks in their own sequence. To meet the needs of accurate data gathering, an iPhone/iPod Touch application was developed. It provides several advantages over the traditional paper/pencil method: (1) time stamps are instantaneous and consistent among the data collectors, (2) activities are entered via swipe-and-click capability, (3) multiple active tasks and interruptions can be tracked, and (4) collected data can be output to Microsoft Excel or Access for analysis. The "app" has proven to be useful in capturing data for our study. This technology can be customized and applied to similar settings at other hospitals.

Author Information

Author Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Carolina (Dr Huynh); Departments of Industrial Engineering (Dr Taaffe and Ms Childers) and Management, Clemson University (Dr Fredendall); Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of South Carolina (Mr Burris); Greenville Hospital System (Ms Livingston and Dr Diller).

This work is funded by Health Sciences South Carolina under the grant, "From Simulation to Operation: Engineering Management Interventions for Perioperative Services."

Corresponding author: Nathan Huynh, PhD, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Carolina, 300 Main St, Columbia, SC 29208 (huynhn@cec.sc.edu).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.