Generally speaking, most mistakes in business can be corrected. Customers can usually be reimbursed for things like late deliveries, missed calls or negative experiences. Here in the hospice unit at SaaD Healthcare, where I work as Vice President, we don’t have that luxury. Missed communications, in other words, can have significant consequences for the patients and families that we look after. And we don’t always get a second chance to make up for a mistake if it happens.
So it goes without saying that communication is vital to the success of our operation. Team members need to always be kept informed about the status of our patients, so they can make key decisions and spring to action as soon as it is necessary. The better we communicate, the more effective we can be as a team.
Understand that information, in this sense, does not mean medical data that you would find in a patient’s medical chart. For the most part, that information has a static quality — it’s reference material as opposed to the actionable data that often changes by the day.
At first, our team used a paper-based log system to manage and share our actionable data. Eventually, we upgraded to Google Sheets but quickly discovered that while it’s a great program for storing information, it’s not ideal for sharing it. Google Sheets works fine in the office, but it is not optimal for workers in the field who are using Android tablets.
What we needed was a medium to disseminate data in near real-time across our entire organization in a way that was efficient, reliable and also user friendly.
We needed an app.
Like many AppSheet customers, I am not a software designer by trade. I am a busy man who is trying to run a business. I am also on a budget, meaning I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on an internal business process app. So, I turned to the no code app market for help and discovered AppSheet.
I ultimately selected AppSheet for its close integration with Google Sheets. Our organization was already using Google for Business, and so it was a natural fit.
The project was an immediate success.
Even with my limited knowledge about coding, I was able to dive right in and start making apps with the data we already had. It was very easy, because I knew how to use spreadsheets. If you can do that, you won’t have any problem at all getting started with AppSheet.
Right off the bat, I was blown away by how easy and intuitive the software is to operate. AppSheet lets you visualize your app on the same screen as you design it. So you can tweak the design and layout as you need to.
First, I used AppSheet to overhaul our internal communication and patient notification system. Now, for instance, a nurse can use the app to record a note like “Patient’s blood pressure is down today, individual is not acting normal.” A whole slew of things will happen after that, but the initial event happens right there in the app.
This helps us deliver exceptional care, as soon as it’s needed. It’s also useful from a legal perspective, too. With this app, we can prove exactly which actions were taken, and when they were taken.
This app is also helpful for admitting new patients to hospice. As soon as a new patient gets entered into the system, the update gets “tagged” as a new patient entry. This automatically triggers email alerts to other relevant departments in the organization.
This is useful for the start of care, and also for the end of care. For instance, suppose a patient passes away. As soon as a nurse enters the information into the app, the app then sends out multiple notifications about next steps — for things like notifying family members and picking up medical equipment.
As you can see, these are sensitive issues that need to be dealt with in a timely manner. Before, notifying team members was a multi-step process — and one that was also subject to human error. But with AppSheet, we are able to consolidate it into one process while also mitigating mistakes.
Our communication log has become a core tool for our team. It’s the first tool that employees access when they come to work, as they use it to check in and make sure patients are getting the attention they need.
Additional use cases
The internal communications log was such a success, I decided to use AppSheet to streamline some other areas of the business as well.
Some of the other apps are used for:
Wound care: Our nurses have to document wounds for patients’ medical records, and this requires taking pictures. In the past, our nurses had to take pictures with their company issued tablets and upload them separately into appropriate databases.
With AppSheet, I created a special program that allows our nurses to take pictures directly inside of the app. The app even renames pictures automatically, so they can be easily discovered and categorized.
From a security perspective, this is much safer as pictures can be stored in Google instead of on an employee’s device. So if an employee takes a picture of a wound, and then his or her device goes missing, the picture will still be accessible from within Google and the device can be wiped without loss of the pictures.
Fleet management: Right now I am also putting the finishing touches on a low-level fleet management app that will allow our team to more effectively track medical equipment deliveries. This app will allow managers to check in and make sure that deliveries get completed on time and it will give drivers quick access to details like addresses, phone numbers and equipment needs. Here, the app is organized by driver. I see this app being expanded to notify customers when they are the next stop for a driver.
Why I love AppSheet
As you can see, there are a variety of different ways that healthcare agencies can use apps. What’s great about AppSheet, though, is that it gives you the freedom to make changes to your app as soon as you need them.
With most apps, it should be noted, it can take several weeks or even months to make structural changes. But with AppSheet, you can simply log in, make an edit and it will update on end users’ systems as soon as they sync their data.
AppSheet gives my team the flexibility to make changes on the fly, which is an incredibly powerful service.
The key takeaway here is that AppSheet is an amazing product, especially if you are already using Google in your business. AppSheet will let you go from a basic Google spreadsheet to a powerful, fully-functioning app. I would recommend AppSheet to anyone.
We’ve pulled together a number of resources that will help you make your first app, regardless of the app making platform you choose (we like to think that our platform is the best but leave the final decision up to you). If you’re a new app creator about to embark on your first custom app, this page is for you!