San Diego Business Journal

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring App Delivers Needed News

Friday, March 1, 2013

Monitoring fetal heart rate while a woman is in labor is critical to ensure a safe delivery, but doctors can’t be in every room at once. San Diego-based electronic medical record maker CliniComp International Inc. has developed a mobile application that helps physicians keep tabs on patients and their babies — and a California health system has adopted the program systemwide.

“Labor is stressful and things change so quickly, but physicians are not always by a computer — they could be anywhere,” said Jean Broberg, senior director of clinical services at CliniComp. “To avoid complications with delivery is essential, and the foundation of this app is to help physicians get the information they need at their fingertips to make the necessary decisions.”

The privately held company recently signed a contract with the Daughters of Charity Health System, a six-hospital network that spans the California coast from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, to integrate the Essentris Fetal mobile application into their existing medical record system.

DCHS already uses CliniComp’s Essentris electronic medical record system, and the new fetal monitoring app feeds data directly into it. The record system has been adopted widely across the country. It provides electronic medical record systems for the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense. The company was founded in 1983, and employs about 100.

Before adopting the app in all of its delivery units, the DCHS used its 358-bed O’Connor Hospital in San Jose to conduct a clinical evaluation. The study found that physicians thought it was very helpful in monitoring patients remotely while they’re in labor, said the primary investigator Mario Cordero.

“CliniComp’s Essentris Fetal mobile application provides what matters most during labor — the ability to see how the fetal heart rate is responding,” Cordero said. “The application provides everything a physician/midwife needs to remotely and safely monitor a patient in labor.”

Data can be remotely viewed on a doctor’s tablet or cellphone, and notes can be relayed back to the bedside nurse to adjust treatment. And the amount of information that can be seen on the fetal app is pretty robust — in addition to fetal heart rate, doctors can access information about a mother’s contraction frequency and blood oxygen levels.

Through the app, users can reference an online library of standard obstetric care information, which can be customized to be health system-specific or meet industrywide standards.

Doctors are given a quick summary of all of their patients to prioritize who needs to be seen soonest, based on information fed from a fetal strip, which are sensors placed on a patient during labor.

“The results with CliniComp to date have been outstanding, and have enhanced the overall satisfaction of our physicians,” said David Siva, director of medical technology for DCHS, in a statement. “We look forward to CliniComp’s support as we complete our systemwide implementation of this key medical technology.”

— Meghana Keshavan