Homecare Firm Dispatches 4,000 Android Tablets With Nurses

Posted on February 27, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Could Android gear be sneaking up on Apple? Here’s one case where a national healthcare organization decided to go with the Android technology for a very large and clearly mission-critical purchase.

A national homecare agency has bucked the iPad trend in tablets, picking up 4,000 Android-based units to send with its personnel to patient homes. The company, Philadelphia-based Bayada, issued the Samsung 7-inch Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus to its therapists, medical social workers and other home health professionals.

In issuing the tablets, Bayada hoped to make its homecare professionals more efficient, especially when visiting Medicare home health patients who only get one hour each.

The tablet deployment followed a 20-person pilot in which it found that the typical nurse reduced his or her typing by one-half hour every day if using a tablet during visits instead of paper or a laptop.

Not only do workers use the tablets to document care within patient homes, they also pull up patient data before they head out on their patient visits.  This spares the nurses having to report to a central office to get their appointments before they leave in the morning.

To make clinical data entry simpler, Bayada has loaded the tablets with SwiftKey Healthcare’s keyboard software, an app which is preloaded with medical terms. It uses artificial intelligence to anticipate which words will be typed next and “learns” over time what words healthcare workers use most often.

Since implementing the SwiftKey software, 69 percent of Bayada’s nurses said they preferred using a tablet for taking clinical notes.

Given the large price difference between the iPad/iPad mini and Android tablets — with Android, obviously, at a lower price point — I’d be surprised if other large healthcare organizations didn’t follow in Bayada’s footsteps.

After all, Apple fan though I am, I have to admit that as the suite of apps available for the Android platform matures, there’s less and less reason for institutions to pay the premium Apple demands.  I wonder if we’re seeing the beginning of a major shift in Android investment by healthcare organizations.