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Yale New Haven Hospital continues to expand the use of Mobile Heartbeat — a smartphone app that enables HIPAA-compliant texting, telephone communications, patient-specific alerts and other clinical tools for healthcare professionals.

First introduced at YNHH in 2012, Mobile Heartbeat lets physicians, residents, nurses and other clinical staff share patient care information securely. It is integrated with Epic, so information from patients' electronic medical records can be provided directly to and from hospital and community providers using YNHH-issued mobile phones, tablets or desktop computers. It can now be securely installed on personal iPhones (model 5 or above).

"This technology improves communication between clinicians," said Allen Hsiao, MD, Yale New Haven Health System chief medical information officer. "If I'm busy with a patient, I can respond to the Mobile Heartbeat text when appropriate, and my colleagues know when I have seen their messages."

YNHH currently has about 3,500 Mobile Heartbeat users and more than 1,200 Mobile Heartbeat devices shared by clinical staff. Mobile Heartbeat is used in the Bridgeport Hospital and New Haven emergency departments, all patient care units at the Saint Raphael Campus, all Yale New Haven Children's Hospital New Haven-based pediatric units, the tele-ICUs in New Haven and Greenwich, Old Saybrook Medical Center and the Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at Milford Hospital, as well as some community-based practices.

"Mobile Heartbeat will eventually replace the SpectraLink phones," said Tim Cooney, director of ITS Web Services. "An inpatient care unit typically has a charging device with about 30 smartphones and a badge reader to give the user access to the devices."

Mobile Heartbeat is starting to be implemented in Smilow Cancer Hospital and will be deployed to all YNHH residents by summer. It is also in various stages of implementation in other Yale New Haven Health System hospitals.

"Mobile Heartbeat will enable secure, convenient and timely communication across Yale New Haven Health System," said Lisa Stump, interim chief information officer. "It creates a single platform to support critical notifications and conversations between clinicians."