How to schedule nurses via text, phone, email

By Neil Versel
02:15 am
Matthew Browning

Matthew Browning

Need evidence that mobile communications are changing healthcare for the better? Ask Matthew Browning, a registered nurse from New Haven, Conn.

Browning was a nursing supervisor for 12 years. “My standard line is, I spent three of those years on the phone,” he says. There had to be a better way to schedule nursing shifts and fill last-minute vacancies.

While earning a master’s degree at Yale School of Nursing, Browning created a bidirectional communications platform called Intelliblast that contacts groups of people, in real time, on any device or medium they specify. He applied for a patent—still pending—and in 2007 founded a company called Your Nurse Is On that automates nurse scheduling on the IntelliBlast platform that sends out alerts by text, phone, e-mail or any other electronic medium when there’s a shift to fill. (The product debuted in 2009.)

“You can’t handle 300 calls yourself,” Browning explains. “You can make 30 calls an hour at best.” Or with blast communications, “you can call 30 people and have an answer in 3 minutes.”

At HIMSS11 in February, Browning took part in the “Geeks Got Talent?” demonstration at the X.0 subconference the annual HIMSS conference in February, and filled a shift in 90 seconds while live on stage.

Your Nurse Is On is a Web-based, software-as-a-service app, but Browning had mobility in mind from the start. “I think it started out mobile,” he says.

“It’s really easy if I get a call out in the field,” according to Browning. “I could fill a shift at the beach and not have to go racing to go fill a shift.”

It’s since been expanded to include other healthcare professionals. “Your Nurse is On is really a misnomer,” Browning says.

The system can be used for in-house staffing management or for filling shifts with temps. It can be populated with union guidelines for shift scheduling. On the back end are paperless billing and performance tracking systems. Individual healthcare professionals can track work history and specify their

Right now, nursing managers can only import Excel spreadsheets into Your Nurse Is On, but the company is working to integrate the product with electronic scheduling systems. Browning mentioned that he’s in discussions with a major scheduling systems vendor about a communications partnership.

Your Nurse Is On is also useful to communicate with staff during an emergency or to take quick polls, according to Browning. As this feature suggests, one area that intrigues Browning is social media. “Social media is just another communications tool,” Browning said in an interview, a line he repeated Tuesday at the Mobile Health Expo in New York City.

But he apparently has used it better than most. In March, Browning was named co-winner of Nurse of the Year by the Shorty Awards, honoring excellence in short-form social media (read “Twitter”) content. Actor Stephen Wallem of “Nurse Jackie” presented him with the award.

Browning, naturally, tweeted his acceptance speech in less than 140 characters: “I THANK my Family, Team, Tweeps, the ‘Academy’ & for allowing me to serve #Nurses & #Healthcare providers around the World!”

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