How Does It Know My To-Dos?

When we describe our NurseMind app -- we call it a smart to-do list for nurses -- one of the first questions that comes up is, "How does it know what my to-dos (tasks) are? Wouldn't I waste a lot of time hand-entering them all at the start of my shift?"

Taking the second question first, the answer is, no, most nursing tasks belong to sets (we call them shifts and protocols) and, by making a few menu selections you select those sets, thus building your to-do list quickly and efficiently.  The process takes a minute or two and is typically done as part of receiving report from the departing nurses as you start your shift.

Here is the answer to the first question: how the to-do list is built. 

First, you select your shift -- choose it from a menu of shifts. Shifts are identified by hospital (the app contains a list of around 7000), time of day (day shift, evening shift), duration (8 hours, 12 hours), and unit (med-surg, emergency, etc.)

Next, you identify your patients. If a patient was on your shift yesterday, you simply choose them from a menu of prior patients. If a patient is new, you enter a little information about them such as their initials, room number, perhaps a few protocols (see below), and a few other details if you think you might need them. All these data elements are optional. The data entry process for a patient is quick -- a minute or two.

The protocols you selected are themselves little to-do lists. NurseMind has more than a hundred of these and the list grows daily. For example, if you select a diabetes protocol for a patient, the blood glucose and insulin tasks are added to your list.

Finally, tasks may be added to your list on the fly as your shift progreses. This happens if a new patient is admitted -- you add them as you did at the beginning of your shift -- and as new orders and requests occur. Those are termed Remind Me tasks.

Here's what happens inside the app as all this proceeds. It builds your to-do list of four types of tasks:

  1. Per-Shift tasks -- those activities that you do every time on your shift, unrelated to a particular patient. These include anything that takes time, such as mandated work breaks. Other such tasks are hourly rounds, restocking carts, checking refrigerators, inventory, and so on. For the purpose of time management, every activity that takes time must be considered.
  2. Per-Patient tasks -- those activities that you do for each patient on your shift, such as administering meds, setting up meal trays, and taking vital signs. If, for example, meds are passed at 11:00 a.m. in your unit and you have five patients, the 11:00 a.m. med task would be added to your to-do list five times.
  3. Protocol tasks -- as described above, protocols are mini to-do lists that are added to your lists according to the individual needs of patients.
  4. Remind Me tasks -- things that come up during the course of your shift such as remembering to check the results of some lab work an hour after it a sample is sent to the lab, to follow up with an MD, to return a call, etc.

Thus, NurseMind builds your to-do list intelligently and quickly, and keeps it up to date as your shift progresses.