Nurses are on the front lines of all aspects of health care. Their many responsibilities include adopting and making the most of new technologies and electronic systems.
To help honor the profession during Nurses Week (May 6 – 12), we interviewed nursing leaders around the world. Here are some of the highlights of what they shared on this subject:
What healthcare IT improvement(s) would be most helpful to nurses? Or how can IT help nurses?
“Machine device interfacing to online records and documentations would be most helpful to nurses as this would truly provide the much touted seamless transition of patient data from point to point and free the nurses to focus on patient education and bedside care.
“Not only that, with the creation of a single source of medical records which is accessible by all healthcare provider, allows the nurses to understand the extent of care for their patients as well as provide the basis for more evidence based nursing care.”
Annabelle Neo, Nursing Informatics
“This is certainly a challenging question and it is very specific to the age group of the workers. I would say that the electronic medical record (EMR) — utilizing decision-support with its alerts, reminders, sharing of information among providers, the ability to auto populate information — is certainly most helpful to clinicians as they are operating in a highly stressed and busy environment.
“I also believe that having the technology available to review the literature online on protocols practices diagnoses to allow that the clinician to working in evidence-based environment is of utmost importance. In addition I think that smart pumps and other technology that can interface with an EMR certainly is helpful to the clinicians should have redundancy is reduced. Finally I think that technology such as voters and tablets allow clinicians to conduct their work without running to the nursing station and tracking people or information down; It’s at their fingertips.
“I believe technologies are beneficial when used properly and we educate our teams effectively to maximize their usage. When we do not rollout or educate them and re-educate them on changes and easier methods to obtain the information they need, that’s what I think technologies become a drawback and hindrance to them.”
Jeanine Frumenti, DNP, RN, Chief Nursing Executive
Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
“I believe that having more hand held IT tools will be essential for the nurse to have. I see iPhones being used more in order for the nurses to communicate verbally or by text. These devices should be connected to the call system, to bed alarms, monitors and IV pumps. This should save the nurses time and provide a safer environment for the patients, which in turn should improve the patient experience.”
Jill Mason, RN, MS, Chief Nursing Officer
Quincy, IL, U.S.A.
“The saddest thing about automation is that we sometimes lose the story of the patient. Even the most engaged, enlightened groups who design these systems – it’s such a process – we create a very cumbersome tool with a lot of exceptions. We’re not charting to normal; we’re charting exceptions. We may be capturing a lot of data elements, but we don’t have a good picture of who Mr. Jones really is. We’re working with our IT department to re-establish our vision for nursing and what documenting should capture.”
Karen A. Grimley, Chief Nursing Officer
Orange, Calif., U.S.A.
“No one wants to harm patients; we come to work every day to help them. IT needs to support that mission, not hinder it…The electronic system needs to become completely second nature. Whereas you would have had a piece of paper that seemed very accessible, the IT system needs to replicate that and make documentation legible and clear.”
“It’s crucial that staff can see what the real benefits are to patients…The health care in England is currently so high-pressured and busy. If nurses perceive it will be extra work, they will not be supportive.”
Helen Carter, Corporate Matron
Salford, United Kingdom
What improvements in healthcare IT do you think would most help nurses? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.
Editor’s Note – “Save one life, you’re a hero. Save 100 lives, you’re a nurse.” To share this idea and wisdom from nursing leaders, click here to tweet.
Check out other posts in this Trends in Nursing series:
- Part 1: How the shift to new care models affects nurses
- Part 2: What healthcare IT improvements would most help nurses
- Part 3: What nurses should do to prepare for the future