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Why Involve Nurses in Healthcare IT Development?

involve-nurses-healthcare-itIf you want people to use your technology, involve them in the development and implementation process. That holds especially true for nurses and healthcare IT.

TeleTracking learned that early on, but according to an article in the November, 2013 issue of Nursing Times, titled “Involving Nurses in Developing New Technology“, not every company is doing this.

The authors ask a logical question. If nurses are such an essential part of patient care, shouldn’t they be more involved in IT development?

We asked ourselves that question years ago. That’s why we consistently engage frontline employees from our client hospitals to be an integral part of the selection, customization, implementation and training process. Their subsequent feedback helps us develop and improve our technology offerings.

The authors, Susan Hamer and Pamela Cipriano, say many healthcare IT vendors focus on business goals rather than care delivery improvements.

That’s partly because nurses have an unfair reputation for resisting change, whether it involves process or technology. The article says that’s a bad rap and that nursing acceptance of advances in the ICU and Neo-Natal areas is proof.

There is disagreement among healthcare leaders about how to allocate nursing resources,” say the authors, despite research showing that nursing care has a direct impact on mortality and morbidity.

They contend that technology which helps nurses deliver care is viewed as an added cost instead of “a mechanism to enhance care.” From their perspective, the value of a particular technology should be measured by whether it helps or hinders care.

Still, many healthcare organizations keep adding new systems without analyzing their effect on caregiver workloads or gains in patient experience and outcomes.

Technology enables care and enhances safety by automating simple and complex functions, but it does not replace a nurse,” the authors add.

That’s a key reason TeleTracking’s consulting group is comprised exclusively of experts who have been on the front line of healthcare themselves. These are people who understand the problems and opportunities of the healthcare environment. They can also help make the case for resource allocations which enable caregivers, an issue nurse leaders must face each year.

An international survey by Dowding, et al, (2013) on research priorities in nursing informatics found the two highest priorities were developing systems to provide real-time feed back to nurses and assessing technologies which help nurses improve patient outcomes.

Another study by the American Academy to find technological workflow inefficiency solutions on medical-surgical nursing units, found a lot of technology was not user friendly and required “workarounds.” Not surprisingly, nurses want technology to eliminate or automate work, perform regulatory functions, and give access to resources. For example, technology integration should allow nurses and other professionals to collect data once then reuse it. The study said nurses just want technology companies to listen to them.

At TeleTracking, we ARE listening to nurses. We always have been and always will.

Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, EMR / Healthcare IT