While lagging a little behind Silicon Valley, hospitals around the United States are transitioning to electronic records, more advanced IT infrastructure, and cloud computing. What does that mean for nurses? A lot. Much more than we can fit into this one page article. However, one portion of change for nurses that we can speak on, is a greater reliance on, and thus use, of mobile technology.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Mobile devices have changed communication within hospitals drastically. Just one example: gone are pagers, and taking their place are cell phones, which means less wasted time walking to find information on why a page was sent, as that information is already in your hand.
This is a big one, as EMR overseers are having to deal with the challenge of what to document, when to document, and who to document when a mobile device is being used. Having a patient sign a standard check-up document on an iPad in the waiting room is an easy form of documentation, and can be instituted without too many headaches. However, certain kinds of communication, access to health records, and access to drugs/hospital supplies may be unique to the employee using that mobile device. How do you document permissions, document access, and document use for nurses, an occupation that is a synonym for “busy”? We don’t have the answers, but the changes coming will be significant.
Mobile devices have already begun to create an immediacy in the patient-
healthcare relationship. Pulling up a patient’s information on a tablet or smartphone (in practice) is much quicker than fishing out a patient’s medical history from the file cabinet. Alarm Fatigue. Already an issue and buzzing phrase in the medical industry, having a phone on your person ringing or vibrating every few minutes will greatly increase the amount of alarm fatigue for nurses.
Already an issue and buzzing phrase in the medical industry, having a phone on your person ringing or vibrating every few minutes will greatly increase the amount of alarm fatigue for nurses.