A group of Butler Tech students from Ross High School may be among the youngest entrepreneurs in the rapidly evolving field of healthcare information technology. In a partnership with UC Health West Chester Hospital, they have developed a software solution to automate the process of gathering and reporting data on patient experience during administrative and nursing rounds. Patient experience is becoming an increasingly important metric in efforts to improve the U.S. healthcare system. It is one of the measures used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assess hospital quality and determine rates for reimbursement.
“West Chester Hospital was looking at other rounding apps on the market, but couldn’t find one that was flexible enough for its needs,” said Austin Klei, a Ross High School senior and Founder/CEO of Glance Software, LLC. “We were able to work directly with hospital staff and develop an app that is custom built and meets all of their requirements.”
West Chester Hospital leaders have made it a priority to regularly visit with patients during their stay to identify opportunities to improve their experience sooner. It’s an effort that helped the hospital earn the Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award for the past four consecutive years. Charting that feedback had previously been done manually, requiring paper forms to be transcribed into a database for review and analysis.
RoundSpark is a software application that fully automates the rounding process by allowing hospital staff to log their interactions from a mobile phone, tablet or PC. The software uses that information to generate data-rich analytics that can help hospital administrators more quickly identify trends that may impact patient experience. It also spotlights areas that have not yet been rounded on, greatly reducing missed opportunities for patient interaction.
“The more interaction that we have with our patients, the better positioned we are to ensure that they have an outstanding experience at our facility,” said Tom Daskalakis, Interim Chief Administrative Officer of West Chester Hospital. “The RoundSpark app developed by Butler Tech students is going to be a powerful tool for us, thus allowing us greater opportunity to consistently evaluate and elevate the high-quality care that we provide.”
One of the key features of RoundSpark that makes it so useful for West Chester Hospital is the ability for staff to create custom reporting. Data can be sorted by unit, shift, administrator, reviewer and more. It also allows administrators to log employee feedback, a strong component of culture at the hospital to ensure that front-line employees have opportunities to improve processes.
RoundSpark is the first product created by the Ross students’ start-up company, Glance Software. Klei serves as President and CEO of the company, based out of the Hamilton Mill in downtown Hamilton. RoundSpark could eventually be marketed to other healthcare organizations.
“This is an exceptional example of the result of Inquiry-Based Learning methodologies we are able to offer to students,” said Tom O’Neill, a Butler Tech information technology instructor based at Ross High School. “Our students not only learned how to create a marketable product, they also learned professional skills working alongside business leaders, healthcare professionals and IT experts to solve a real-world challenge.”
Glance Software, LLC began as a student company that participated in SAGE, Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship, an international student organization required by O’Neill’s students. Glance Software, LLC was later invited to join The Hamilton Mill as one of the start-up companies in the small business incubator. Because of the success of Glance Software, LLC, The Mill has started a pathway for high school student entrepreneurs to grow their companies with the help of professional mentors and services provided by The Mill. As part of that pathway, O’Neill is moving the SAGE organization out of Ross High School and into The Mill in order to provide the same opportunities for a wider audience.
Butler Tech, a partner of The Mill, offers a wide range of career-technical education to middle, junior and high school students for 10 partner school districts in Butler and Hamilton Counties. About 14,000 teen students will have taken a course or enrolled in a program provided by Butler Tech this school year.