Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

March 21, 2010

‘Air Strip’ boosts OB patient safety at THC

Helicopters aren’t the only aircraft alighting at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Cleburne.

Storks have arrived multiple times daily for years.

But they’re now equipped with cell phones for mothers and babies along with the customary linen diapers.

Thanks to modern communications techniques adopted throughout the Texas Health system two months ago, obstetricians are able to stay in constant contact with their patients through the OB Air Strip, a cell phone application that carries vital information to physicians.

The state-of-the-art technology allows obstetricians to monitor multiple mothers and babies at multiple locations in a fraction of the time once necessary.

And that’s just fine with obstetricians such as Cleburne’s William Ray Ford, who practices at Texas Health Cleburne and witnesses the OB Air Strip’s benefits every day, sometimes every minute.

“So far, my experience is it’s quick and easy, and I can get information without the delays of operators or being put on hold or waiting for the nurse to put the information in the system,” Ford said. “It’s a time-saver. Most people’s fears center on the possibility of it creating less personal care with the doctor. The reality is that the doctor is sometimes not present anyway. This gets him there quicker sometimes.”

A monitor is placed on the mother. Data flows to a station staffed by nurses and accessible from the doctor’s cell phone. The air strip is the conduit.

“The monitor is constantly gathering data on how much, how frequent, how intense are the contractions, and how the baby is responding,” Ford said. “It provides everything on the bedside chart, and it can graph it in several forms. It’s an overall improvement in care.”

Most patients have no clue the OB Air Strip exists.

“They don’t know about it,” Ford said. “They probably don’t need to know. They’re concerned about having a healthy baby in their arms. That’s everybody’s goal.”

Since the location of his practice has changed, Ford finds himself alerting more patients to the advantages of the new technology.

“I’m starting to tell patients about it. I used to do C-sections right below my office [at the hospital]. Now that I’m a couple of blocks down the street, I’ve had occasional questions about my availability. [OB Air Strip] is a tool that allows me to better manage my time.”

The air strip makes life easier for health care personnel other than doctors, too.

“This is a cutting edge application that greatly improves communication between physicians and nurses, and it improves patient safety and quality of care,” said Kelly Curlee, THC’s supervisor of women’s and infants’ services. “When the physician can’t be near a computer, this allows real time access via cell phone. It is highly secure.”

It’s not merely a doctor-to-hospital patch.

“Nurses can contact the physician regarding the baby’s heart rate and communicate and collaborate just as if [the doctor] were at bedside,” Curlee said, “rather than the nurse giving a description of what she sees and relying on subjective interpretation like in the past.

“Now they can look at the same information at the same time, no matter where the doctor is. This has really improved communication for us here.”

Patient service is also significant, even if the patient doesn’t know exactly how significant.

“I think patients expect us to do what’s necessary to take care of them,” said THC president Blake Kretz said. “OB Air Strip is just an enhancement for the patients. Things can change very quickly in OB, so instant access wherever that physician might be is one more level of security we’re happy to provide the patient.”

Texas Health was out in front of competitors with the air strip technology, Kretz said.

“I think we’re the only hospital system in North Texas that has it right now,” he said. “We piloted the project in Dallas. At the [hospital] presidents’ meeting, we got great feedback from the physicians.

He said the Texas Health system adopted OB Air Strip  quickly because of mobility and the type of information it provides for the physicians.

“We want to stay at the leading front of technology, ” he said.

Similar technology may be on the way for other parts of the hospital, Kretz said.

“The [Texas Health] system is looking at all mobile technologies. There isn’t another specific application like the air strip that’s available right now, but there are other things in development that can link into our electronic health record.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 22nd annual B&W Gala set for Saturday

    For the sixth year in a row, the Omni Fort Worth Hotel will be the choice setting for the 22nd annual Black & White Gala on Saturday.

    July 28, 2014

  • IMG_7029.JPG Hill College community event a success

    People of all ages came out for a hands-on experience at the first “Let’s Get Technical” event at Hill College on Thursday.

    July 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • IMG_4387.JPG The ice cops cometh to JC

    The Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral in Johnson County, claiming three victims Thursday, with more drenchings expected this weekend.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • heath.jpg Kyle Heath named CISD superintendent

    Cleburne ISD officially has a new superintendent. The CISD board of trustees issued a contract agreement to Kyle Heath at Friday’s board meeting. 

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 65.jpg Gearing up for giving

    Last year’s local response to the thousands affected and displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines was tremendous, said Deeper Life Christian Fellowship Pastor Zane Mitchell and his wife, Thess Mitchell.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Joshua woman killed in traffic accident

    A pregnant woman, 19, died Friday morning at a Fort Worth hospital following a Thursday traffic accident.

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_6911.JPG Construction delayed at Keene Elementary School

    Construction of Wanda R. Smith High School in Keene is almost finished, but the job at Keene Elementary School might not complete until late November.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_4353.JPG Immigration hot topic at Cleburne Lions Club

    Illegal immigration was the topic of Wednesday’s weekly luncheon of the Cleburne Lions Club. DeWayne Burns, Republican candidate for the state representative District 58 seat, spoke at the meeting. 

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jimmy Neal.jpg Burleson Centennial hires new principal

    Mansfield ISD has lost two of its top officials to Johnson County. Mansfield’s Summit High School Principal Jimmy Neal has been named the Burleson Centennial High School principal.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_4299.JPG Police chief all wet

    Cleburne Police Chief Robert Severance thought Wednesday morning’s festivities in front of Cleburne City Hall would be restricted to ice cubes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Latest CTR Videos
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
House Ads
Featured Ads
CTR Sports
Follow us on twitter