The Benefits of Technology in
Nursing and Healthcare
This paper explores nursing informatics and technology in the emergency department of a local level 1 trauma center. The references cited provide discussion and statistics on several types of nursing informatics utilized today by this facility, including benefits and shortcomings. Personal experience from the author are also incorporated as he witnessed first hand the nursing informatics and technology “explosion” and how this facility incorporated this technology into their daily nursing care over the past 15 years.
In 1995 I acquired a job as a nurse’s aid at the hospital I am currently employed. At the time, they ...view middle of the document...
It has been noted that “hospitals using more information technology produce better patient-care outcomes (“Get “wired for,” 2007, p. 34).
It’s difficult to say one piece of technology is more important than another, as they all fit together like a puzzle in the patient care arena. However, I would have to say the most utilized piece of nursing informatics is our charting system. It is used every day on every patient. Accurate charting is essential to exceptional patient care. Without proper charting, it’s difficult to see the patient’s whole story and condition. In terms of charting, ideally the RN should paint a picture where very few questions need to be asked. Charting should include where the patient has been (history), where they are presently in the care (treatments and responses), and where they are headed (anticipated treatments, etc.). Clear charting allows providers to make informed decisions about what steps need to be taken next.
The charting system we utilize, T-System, allows the nurse to chart full narratives with just a few clicks of a mouse, saving valuable time. Many nurses complain with other systems that they spend more time at the computer than at the bedside. This is not the case with this system. The network utilizes wireless laptops to chart at the bedside. The charting is formatted to make chronological sense, and uses proper terminology. On each patient that exhibits a benign exam, a nurse can save approximately five to ten minutes with electronic charting as compared to writing out the pertinent negatives of the exam on paper. This time adds up at the end of the day. The charts are “complaint driven”; therefore the assessments are tailored to the complaint, but still provide a thorough and complete exam with a focus on the complaint area. Additionally since it is electronic, redundancy is reduced, multiple providers can access the information simultaneously, and the charts act as financial and legal records (Catalano, 2009, p. 366).
Once the patient is evaluated in the ER, and a disposition is made, the patient is either admitted or discharged. Once it is determined where the patient will be admitted to, a preliminary chart is sent electronically to the nurse receiving the patient via the network’s intranet. This gives the receiving RN ample time to review the chart, and ask any questions they may have of the primary RN prior to receiving the patient. If there are no questions, the patient is sent to their bed from the ER. This frees up the ER nurse from actually giving a full verbal report and allows the ER RN to spend their time more efficiently. As noted by Catalano, “The information revolution has changed both the form and the format of communication” (Catalano, 2009, p. 357). Exceptions apply however, such as high level ICU patients, where a nurse to nurse verbal report is mandatory.
Our hospital has adopted a “lean visual management” program from Toyota. The idea is that any...