Smartsheet.com, a company out of Bellevue, WA, developed a spreadsheet-inspired collaboration tool that is used to manage a wide variety of team projects, task lists, event management, and business processes. The app offers real-time collaboration, file sharing, automated notifications, and powerful project management features, and can be used on any device.
According to the company, Smartsheet is now being used at Northeast Georgia Medical Center to communicate more quickly and accurately about acute cardiac patients. To find out more about this tool, we did a Q&A with Brent Frei, co-founder and chairman of Smartsheet.
Medgadget: Congratulations on entering the wonderful world of healthcare, where convincing doctors and nurses to change is not an easy matter. Can you tell our readers how Smartsheet collaboration tools work in a real clinical environment?
Brent Frei, Smartsheet: It all comes down to providing real-time communications for NGMC staff. Their EMS, Emergency Department, and cardiology staff need to be on the same page when making critical life-saving medical decisions. From the moment a cardiac arrest happens, to the first seconds on the cardiac catheterization lab table, Smartsheet provides NGMC with a way to efficiently capture and share patient information with the extended care team. This real-time, shared knowledge helps doctors accurately diagnose patients and get them the treatment they need in a timely manner.
EMS staff enter patient information via a Smartsheet web form on a mobile device as they enter the emergency room. The entire care team is alerted and connected, working with accurate data, and as a result – lowering cardiac complications. Since NGMC is ranked as the number one cardiology hospital in Georgia and is among the top 5 percent in the nation for cardiac services, they are constantly on the cutting edge of technology. They wholeheartedly embraced Smartsheet to help improve patient outcomes and are continuing to find new ways to leverage the technology.
Medgadget: Does Smartsheet interface with any electronic medical record systems (EMRs)? What about HIPAA compliance?
Frei: Here’s how it works. NGMC’s cardiologists came up with 19 questions that are critical to know about each patient. They created a Smartsheet web form with all of the questions, complete with drop-down boxes with the option to answer “yes” or “no.” Now when an ambulance arrives at the hospital, paramedics grab an iPad and complete the form – in seconds. Once submitted, the staff and doctors involved in the patient’s care are instantly updated on their mobile phones. The information gathered adheres to the hospital’s strict HIPAA compliance standards with enterprise-grade security.
Medgadget: What feedback are you getting from clinicians at Northeast Georgia Medical Center?
Frei: We have received very positive feedback from the clinicians at NGMC. Here is what some of NGMC staff had to say about Smartsheet:
“When a heart attack strikes in one of the surrounding 17 counties, ambulances head for our hospital,” says Jason Grady, NGMC’s regional STEMI coordinator. (STEMI is an acronym for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a severe heart attack.) “The faster a patient can get to us and one of our world-class cardiologists, the greater his chance for survival. Beyond the need for expedited care, communication is key. Traditionally, a verbal system of record from EMS to ED staff to cardiologist was used when a patient was admitted. Things can get missed or miscommunicated in the fast pace of the ED – inaccurate or incomplete data are detrimental to the patient’s treatment. In the past, when we asked, ‘Did the patient receive CPR?’ more often than not the paramedics were long gone,” said Grady. “Now with Smartsheet, we have a full record of exactly what happened leading up to treatment in the cath lab. It’s amazing.”
Medgadget: Do you have evidence that Smartsheet-based collaboration has an impact on clinical outcomes?
Frei: Since saving a life can come down to mere seconds, the quicker patient data is shared among the team, the more chance doctors have to save lives. NGMC uses Smartsheet to help streamline and standardize the standard of care. For example, after the EMS fills out the new patient’s information via the web form, an email notification is sent to the cardiac team via Smartsheet. Most often, the cardiologist views this information on his or her mobile phone on the way to the ED, providing a few extra moments to refine a treatment plan.
Clinical outcomes must also be examined outside of the operating room. Using historical data archived in Smartsheet, hospital staff look back on past patients and analyze trends. They use Smartsheet reports to pull together certain data points across all of the hospital’s sheets. This powerful information improves care for future patients with similar situations. With this trend analysis information (something they had never been able to gather consistently prior to Smartsheet) they can replicate their successes or hone response systems accordingly.
According to Grady, “Our data shows that about 80 percent of cardiac arrest victims don’t get CPR before paramedics get there,” he said. “From that data point alone, it’s easy to see our community needs to put more efforts into public CPR training. Additionally, only 50 percent of patients have access to defibrillators. This data helps us make our case when we apply for grant funding.”
Medgadget: Do you have evidence that Smartsheet can bring cost benefits to a hospital? Do you believe that Smartsheet can streamline clinical pathways in hospitals big and small?
Frei: The ROI for hospitals is quite astounding since Smartsheet provides pricing plans that are of minimal cost to organizations and yet has an immediate impact on the effectiveness of communication among staff. The net result of this immediate, structured, and always available communication is better patient outcomes.
Medgadget: Any closing thoughts?
Frei: As medicine advances, so must the tools for offering real-time collaboration and decision making. Hospitals, like all organizations, are challenged to work more effectively, streamlining workflows and being more accountable for results. It’s exciting to see organizations like NGMC investing in technology like Smartsheet to help their staff succeed and improve patient outcomes. It’s a powerful combination.