Nurse Designs Staffing Tech for Efficiency-Starved Hospitals

1/3/12Follow @arleneweintraub

When registered nurse Matthew Browning was working as a hospital supervisor a few years back, he often found himself frustrated by an all-too-common conundrum. Whenever his hospital was short-staffed, the only way he could find nurses willing to put in extra shifts was to call everyone one-by-one—a hassle that was only exacerbated by this country’s chronic nursing shortage. “My line is, ‘I spent 12 years as a supervisor, and four of those years were spent on the phone trying to get people to come to work,’” jokes Browning (pictured at right). “I thought there should be a way to allocate this specialized healthcare resource instantly.”

From that frustration emerged YourNurseIsOn.com, a company that Browning founded in 2007 with the goal of automating healthcare staffing. The company markets a software-as-a-service platform that allows hospital supervisors to instantly contact nurses and other workers when they have shifts that need to be filled. The New Haven, CT-based startup, which raised just under $1 million in seed funding, has attracted 1,200 users since it started marketing its product in late 2010, Browning says.

So far, 2012 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for YourNurseIsOn. Browning says the company’s product is being piloted by several “known national names” in the hospital world. He expects some of those facilities to evaluate the pilots and make purchasing decisions early in the year. And in February, YourNurseIsOn will share results from a key pilot at one of the biggest showcases for health technology companies—the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMS) conference in Las Vegas.

The backbone of YourNurseIsOn is a complex algorithm that Browning spent several years refining while he was still working as a nurse supervisor. “I wanted this genie that would allow you to blink and put the right people in the right place quickly, without bothering the people who didn’t want to work or weren’t available,” he says. The platform allows hospital schedulers to contact staffers based on criteria important for the job that needs to be filled, ranging from skill sets to location to seniority, Browning says. Workers can then be contacted by text, e-mail, or phone, and they can instantly accept or reject the available shift.

Browning and his staff of six have been working hard to build on their product’s functionality. “When we receive those messages back, we can fill a schedule, and we can notify someone that Person X is coming at 3:00,” Browning says. The system can handle both routine and … Next Page »

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  • http://www.bethboynton.com Beth Boynton, RN, MS

    Sounds like a great idea.

    I also wonder about having a stronger back up plan, i.e. nurses or LNA’s on call for small amount of $ and commitment to come in if called. And to consider evaluating and boosting retention efforts. Too often, I’ve experienced chronic understaffing when people call out and there is no one willing to come in.

    Beth
    Producer 12 min video-”Interruption Awareness: A Nursing Minute for Patient Safety”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGK9_CkhRNw