Renal professionals are constantly on the go, especially nephrologists, who could be at the hospital, at home, or even at a conference. Yet, despite their mobility, their patients are still their chief concern, and mobile applications for smartphones, such as Satellite Laboratory Services' LabCheck GO!, can help them get patients' critical results no matter where they are.
With the app, users can receive critical/panic results, ICD-9 code corrections, and important reminders.
Paul Beyer, CEO of Satellite Laboratory Services, said the company felt the industry was moving towards mobile applications when they rolled out the LabCheck GO! app in June 2009. "That's not a revolutionary statement," he said. "Just look at the apps on the iPhone right now. Physicians and their related staff need the ability to be flexible."
The first hurdle in the app's design was determining what information it should include from Satellite's detailed Web-based LabCheck program for desktop computers. "Not everything can be done and should be done in terms of desktop to app," said Christine Koncal, director of marketing for Satellite. "You have a small screen, so you can't do everything. Not all information in dialysis lends itself to a screen the size of a matchbook."
After researching, Beyer said critical values delivered to their iPhones is what nephrologists want on a portable basis. Things that need an immediate response. Some of these values include environmental tests (water and dialysate), endotoxin results and LAL results. "Those events can be acted on immediately," Beyer said. "They're things you have to know now. There are certain test results that have to be reported immediately. If we release results at 2 a.m. in our lab, we have to contact the physician now, by law. This is a natural extension of that."
Security was also big concern in developing the app, which is HIPAA compliant. "We have a firewall protected ASP (application service provider) here that hosts everyone's data," Koncal said. "No matter what is done with this LabCheck GO! application, the data always remains in that system and safe. Just because information is accessed doesn't mean it goes away in the LabCheck system. It's just another view into that."
The app is currently in its second version, and Satellite is continuing to add features with an eye towards the user experience. "This application is designed for critical values for physicians, but the staff of the dialysis clinics is the key component of who services the patients," Beyer said. "You have multiple audiences out there. We're going to have different role-based applications for water techs, dietitians, nurses, doctors. They need different versions because they are looking at different things."
The LabCheck GO! is currently available in Apple's iTunes store for the iPhone and the iPod touch. Satellite is in the process of developing applications for other widely used platforms such as for BlackBerry and Android smartphones.