Nurse Information System (NIS) - Project FITNE

Imagine a PDA application that nursing students and medical care agencies could use in gathering data on their patients. An intuitive, simple application that can run on a small portable device that fits in the palm of the hand, is rechargeable, user friendly and has a very long battery life is a dream to most nursing personnel. Laptops and other small proprietary mobile devices are too heavy, clumsy to transport, and have too short a battery life to be productive in the nursing environment.

The goal of this project is to produce a “non-busy” graphical application running on a PDA type device that would have easy to use pull down check-box menus and be in the form of a one of the nationally recognized nursing languages (Omaha). This application would yield clearly readable information without having to worry about deciphering poor handwriting when a patient's life and well being are at stake. In addition, information would not be missed or forgotten because of the menu-like format.


Pace University's Lienhard School of Nursing is one of the few schools in New York State that has handheld computers with a software program known as the “Nightingale Tracker”. The “Trackers”, as they are affectionately known, are given out to a volunteer group of nursing students and their faculty members during a regular semester for clinical use. The Trackers were received via a grant. Over the course of this project, Pace University developed a strong partnership with a company called FITNE who developed the Nightingale Tracker. FITNE has exclusively asked Pace University to join with them on the physical body assessment project. The software application will be marketed by FITNE and potentially used in nursing schools around the world. A current undeveloped prototype in Magic Cap OS, called Body Assessment, is available to serve as an initial model and parts may be ported over as needed. [This prototype was never released to the general public but only beta tested with particular universities.]

Project FITNE

This project will consist of developing a physical body assessment program that will operate on the Palm OS and WinCE [If necessary, two separate applications can be written but must be compatible]. In addition, a backend information system with storage capability in a Microsoft Access database format will need to be developed. A team of six students is required for this project -- for example, two to spearhead the design, development, and testing, two to focus on porting to Palm, and two to focus on porting to WinCE.

It is anticipated that the Nursing Information System (NIS) will allow nursing students, faculty, and agency personnel to enter/retrieve physical body assessment data into a Palm OS / WinCE based device, i.e., Palm Pilot, Handspring Visor, Compaq IPAQ, etc., based on the following criteria:

The system should be able to collect patient information including patient demographics, health history, text treatment plan, follow-up, and diagnose/rule-out from nursing students on clinical patient visits.

The initial version of this system should be completed by the end of the Fall 2001 semester. This basic application will then be beta tested with nursing schools around the country. If appropriate, additional features could be added in the 2nd semester such as synchronizing with a university server, and incorporating needed items as indicated by beta test sites. A full version should be completed by the end of the Spring 2002 semester.

Future Work

It is anticipated that if this project is successful, FITNE will want their complete Nightingale Tracker software ported to Palm OS and WinCE. Also, it is hoped that future work will include secured data exchange over Internet_2 servers.