An iPad App for the Charge Nurse

Doctor assignments, room status, and doctor location

With the Patient Is In iPad app you can notify the doctor on her Apple Watch or iPhone that a patient is ready to be treated. Also, the Patient is in iPad app allows the charge nurse to quickly:

  • View doctor availability
  • Visualize the status of each doctor assignment
  • Visualize the status of rooms
  • Location of off-site doctors with live map
  • Location of on-site doctors using iBeacon technology
  • Start an audio or video FaceTime call with the doctor (without knowing the doctor’s FaceTime information)
  • Receive an audio or video FaceTime call from the doctor (without the doctor knowing your FaceTime information)
  • Schedule a Skype for Business conference call
  • Announce a patient assignment on any AirPlay-compatible speaker such as Apple’s HomePod  wireless speaker
  • Broadcast a general announcement to any AirPlay-compatible speaker such as Apple’s HomePod wireless speaker
  • Synchronize doctor assignments and room status with other charge nurses and administrators


Sending an assignment to the doctor

You send a notification to the doctor’s iPhone or Apple Watch containing

  • The name of the room in which the patient is waiting
  • Important notes about the patient such as if he has elevated vital signs

and the Patient Is In watch app will alert the doctor with

  • A discrete vibration felt on the doctor’s wrist
  • An optional, audible sound

If an AirPlay compatible speaker such as Apple’s HomePod wireless speaker is set up in a doctor’s office and authorized to be used by the charge nurse’s iPad, then the doctor can hear a wireless announcement similar to “The charge nurse says that Dr. Quinn has an assignment in Exam Room 2”. Here is a link to learn more about using multi-user Siri support and HomePod: HomePod and Multi-User Siri in Health Care: It’s how to reduce patient wait times

Additionally, this assignment is synchronized with the Patient is in iPad app managed by other charge nurses and administrators. This provides large clinics and hospitals with a global, real-time view of doctor availability, patient assignments, and room status.

In this video, we see how the charge nurse is able to quickly send a patient assignment to the doctor, visualizing doctor availability and see which doctor is onsite and connected to the real time peer-to-peer network or through iCloud, if the doctor is receiving patient assignments on her Apple Watch or iPhone, if the doctor is available for a FaceTime conference call, the status of assignments (accepted with an estimated time of arrival, decline, or completed), and the status of each room.




Locating an onsite doctor with iBeacon technology

In large hospitals, it is sometimes critical to locate a doctor who may be busy attending to another patient. The Patient is in app allows you to locate an onsite doctor. First tap the icon representing the doctor and then tap the magnifying glass icon as seen in the following video:



You will then be presented with a map view displaying the general location of the doctor as seen here:



The Patient is in app implements Apple’s iBeacon technology to automatically register each time a doctor’s iPhone passes near a charge nurse’s iPad running the app. In the above screen shot, a map pin shows that at 9:21 PM, the doctor was “Near Nurse Station 6”. And likewise, a few minutes after the doctor leaves the area of the iPad named “Nurse Station 6”, the map pin will be updated to show that the doctor has “Left Nurse Station 6”.

iBeacon uses Bluetooth, so for this feature to work both the iPad and the iPhone must enable Bluetooth.

If you are a fan of TV science fiction and specifically Star Trek, you may recognize this feature as a real world example of the Enterprise computer knowing the location of a crew member by passively tracking the location of the communicator badge as seen in following snippet from the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation



iBeacon technology and your privacy

It is important to note that the Patient is in iPhone app is only able to report on the last time the iPhone was in the Bluetooth proximity of a charge nurse’s iPad which was at the time both running the app and had Bluetooth enabled. The Patient is in iPhone app is unable to determine its proximity to other iPhones.


Locating an offsite doctor

If the doctor allows, the charge nurse may see the doctor’s offsite location on a live map. This map will also display current traffic conditions and is similar to apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Glympse. This feature helps the charge nurse estimate the doctor’s time of arrival for emergency surgery and other time sensitive activities.


Offsite location data and your privacy

It is important to note that only the doctor can decide if her offsite location should be disclosed to the charge nurse. The doctor can at anytime enable or disable the setting “Update charge nurse” in the section “OFFSITE AND ONSITE LOCATION UPDATES” as seen in the following screen shot:



If this setting is enabled and due to the imprecise nature of mobile location technologies, the app may update the charge nurse with the doctor’s location up to 1 mile or more from the location of the charge nurse’s iPad. Consequently, if the doctor is using her personal iPhone and not a hospital issued device, the doctor may choose to manually disable this feature when leaving work.

This setting is disabled by default.


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