Much of healthcare improvement via technology initiatives address gaining physician by-in (Reinertsen, 2005) and does not adequately address engaging nurses, despite the fact that nurses serve as the front-line care givers and are a primary user group (Wiley-Patton and Malloy, 2004). However, the tide is changing and visibility of nurses as information gatherers and processors in the patient care process is increasing (Romano, 2006). Nurses perform the majority of the data oriented tasks involved in patient care and would benefit most from having access to information at the point of care (Bove, 2006). RADM Romano, Chief Professional Officer of Nursing and advisor to the US Surgeon General concerning public health, recently addressed the American Informatics Nursing Informatics Association and stated “This is the year of the nurse. The technologies that have the means to improve the efficiencies in patient care are in the hands of the nurses.” Nurses need to embrace technology in everyday work or continue suffering the consequences of antiquated methods of computing that take us away from where we work – at the point of care (Abbott, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Systemic Interoperability: Comprehensive network of privacy-protected systems of electronic personal health information developed around the healthcare consumer to facilitate wellness and the safe delivery of optimal healthcare.
Triage: The process of taking vital statistics, documenting impending problems, and making initial assessments to categorize criticality of the emergent condition.
Nursing: Encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups, and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled, and dying people. Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policies and patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.
Mobile or Wireless Computing: The use of mobile, untethered devices to access information stored in information systems or communicate via wireless networks.
Throughput Flow: The process of managing when, where, and how patients are moved about in the patient care system across units within the hospital for labs, procedures, and so forth
Charting: The process of monitoring the patient and recording vital statistics, effectiveness of medical intervention, and overall patient wellness, an ongoing process across nursing shifts.
Medication Administration: The process of validating medication regimens with prescriptions, delivering the medication, and documenting the effectiveness.
Electronic Medical or Health Records: Electronic version of the manual chart that outlines historical medical information pertaining to one individual.