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Nathan Adelson Hospice’s app streamlines referrals, admission time

Monday April 1, 2013
Ali Sissom, RN, credits a mobile app with more timely responses to referrals for hospice.
Ali Sissom, RN, credits a mobile app with more timely responses to referrals for hospice.
(Photo courtesy of Nathan Adelson Hospice)
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Seeking to speed up delivery of services to new patients, Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas created a mobile app so nurse practitioners, nurse care managers and physicians can refer people to the Las Vegas agency from their smartphones or tablets. The nonprofit hospice also is customizing and selling its iRefer DR app to other hospices and healthcare providers.

"We run so much on emails and mobile devices that the app brought us into the next century of where we need to be — on the cutting edge of doing what’s right for the patient," said Ali Sissom, RN, director of admissions at Nathan Adelson Hospice, who praised the quality and timeliness of the information received electronically.

Providers no longer need to write orders, fax or phone the agency to refer patients. They simply enter patient information on the app and, with a touch of a finger, the referral instantly appears on the desktop of the intake nurse at the agency and on the cell phones of each admissions nurse, who can act on it immediately, 24 hours a day. ED physicians and nurse practitioners can order hospice, and the admission nurse will open the case, regardless of the time of day. A physician still must certify that the patient has a terminal illness.

"The biggest benefit is that [the referral] is there and available right away," Sissom said. "It gives nurses the real-time information they need to help our patients and to do the right things quickly."

The app also includes patient educational materials, information about eligibility criteria and hospice news, which case managers and nurse practitioners can use when talking with patients.

Nathan Adelson built the app in 2011 to help the hospice remain on the forefront of healthcare’s move toward mobile technology in a market with 36 hospice agencies, said Karen Rubel, vice president for development at Nathan Adelson. Developers incorporated suggestions from the nursing team about information needed and questions people often ask.

"We wanted to give this tool to physicians and case managers, so they could make referrals easily and quickly," Rubel said. "We’ve had a positive response."

The app has been so popular that Nathan Adelson decided to offer it to other agencies that rely on referrals. More than a dozen facilities now have contracts.

"This app allows a seamless and quick referral for anyone making a referral to hospice," Rubel said. "It’s a good tool because you can customize it."

For information, visit www.NAH.org.

Debra Anscombe Wood, RN, is a freelance writer. Send letters to editorWest@nurse.com.