Thursday, May 30, 2013

Using Technology to Help Nurses Spend More Time on Direct Patient Care

A study published in 2008 found that medical-surgical nurses spent 19.1 percent of their time involved in patient care activities, but 35.3 percent on documentation. A blog on Advance for Nurses by Michael Wong of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety discusses the ways that nurses can use technology to improve patient safety and allow them to spend more time providing direct care.

The blog is based on the recommendations of three nurses who spoke at the Patient, Safety Science & Technology Summit held in January of this year. Those nurses are: Lillee Gelinas, vice president and chief nursing officer of VHA, Inc.; Linda Groah, executive director of the Association of perOperative Registered Nurses; and Juliana Morath, chief quality and safety officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Their recommendations include: using monitoring technology as a patient safety net; using monitoring technology that incorporates multiple parameters into a single system as opposed to monitoring things separately; and ensuring that technology is nurse-friendly. Wong also recommends that nurses be an integral part of the process of selecting and implementing the use of the technology they will use and interact with.

An INQRI-funded study led by Linda Flynn and Dong-Churl Suh found that nurses were better able to intercept medication errors when they worked in a supportive environment, including opportunities to participate in hospital decisions and continuity of patient care assignments, among other factors.

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