The Future of Nursing and Health IT

The Quality Elixir

Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Disclosures

Nurs Econ. 2011;29(5):286-289. 

In This Article

Technology Transforming Nursing Practice

In today's patient care environment, many nurses are already technology junkies. Nurses don't want to be passive consumers of technology (Burnes Bolton, Gassert, & Cipriano, 2008). Technology is the greatest tool available to transform and innovate the delivery of nursing care. Solutions exist today that can eliminate repetitive and mundane tasks, accomplish regulatory work, provide more efficient use of space, improve the environment of care, provide access to resources, and thereby improve safety and efficiency. Process-transforming technologies improve efficiency by removing nurses from unnecessary tasks and reducing waste. Returning time to the nurse means more direct care time and ultimately safer care. Smart, wireless monitoring devices that integrate with nurse call systems or electronic records not only save time, but also have the capability to provide alerts when problems are imminent. Systems that enable timely tracking, awareness, or acquisition of equipment, supplies, and people, reduce delays in care. Technologies that organize and manage workflow help improve patient flow. Having imbedded clinical knowledge and decision support at the point of care improves safety. Improved communications technologies that route and prioritize messages and requests to enable immediate responses to patients and other caregivers also improve safety.

Health care is becoming virtual and global. Many mobile devices have moved care outside hospital walls, adding to patient convenience for monitoring chronic and acute conditions. Technology is also empowering patients and others to assume new roles as partners with the health care team.

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