Smartwatch app may prevent falls

A new smartwatch app being developed at Binghamton University may allow certified nursing assistants to respond to alerts faster, researchers said.

The design from researchers was well-received by nursing experts, they said. Improving notification via the watch allows staff to respond to a resident sooner, especially when he or she needs to use the bathroom.

The app could replace a traditional call light system. As a nursing aide uses the watch and its app, they will sign in and add assigned residents.

"The message contains the resident's name, the type of alarm, the room number and the CNA who is responsible. The smartwatch will be on the CNA's wrist, so it's accessible all the time. They can see the message, hear the alarm, and feel the vibration, whether they are working down the hallway or inside the rooms,” said Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Huiyang Li, Ph.D.

While the cost of having employees wearing smartwatches may seem cost-prohibitive, the researchers say the benefits would include preventing falls and skin problems.

"The CNAs are excited about this idea and they are interested in this device. They would like to see the adoption of new technologies in their working environment because all of the problems in their current situation," said doctoral candidate Haneen Ali

"Designing a Smart Watch Interface for a Notification and Communication System for Nursing Homes," was presented at the Human-Computer Interaction International Conference in Toronto last month.

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