A smartwatch app under development may allow certified nursing assistants to respond to alerts faster, Binghamton University researchers say.

The design has been well-received by nursing experts, they say. Improving notification via the watch allows staff to respond to a resident sooner, especially when he or she needs to use the bathroom. The design integrates existing safety systems, such as bed alarms and wander alerts.

“Residents tend to stand up or go to the bathroom by themselves. If they’re not strong enough, they can’t support the weight,” said Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Huiyang Li, Ph.D.

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

“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,” Li said.

The researchers say the benefits would include preventing falls and skin problems, and minimizing litigation risk.

“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 of 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.