The Importance of Technology for Nurses
By Jamil King, National Sales Manager, Panasonic
As the role of nurses has evolved throughout the years, so too have the mobile computing tools they depend on in the fast-paced healthcare environment. Being on the front lines of patient care, nurses have often been the early adopters of different technology to aid in delivery of patient care - from beepers to "computers on wheels" to PDAs. As faster information retrieval and better documentation tools have become imperative in the healthcare industry, many are looking to next-generation mobile computing tools to increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide more accurate and efficient patient care.
Despite the excitement around mobile computing in the mHealth arena, 93% of nurses in for-profit facilities stated they do not have computers in each room or hand-held/mobile devices to aid in the EHR requirements, according to the Q3 2014 Black Book EHR Loyalty survey. This lack of IT resources has a dramatic effect on nurse workflow patterns and inevitably leads to time taken away from patient care. In this environment where all staff are driven to operate at the top of their license, every minute of time savings and every improvement in accuracy and efficiency is critical to improving outcomes.
Recent innovations in mobile computing technology are the physical manifestation of the industry's rapid rate of change - from 4K displays to view medical imagery more clearly, to integrated barcode readers to use in medication management, to smaller and lighter tablets that fit in a pocket but offer the same processing power as a desktop computer - every new innovation addresses a genuine concern identified by the preceding group of healthcare professionals. Every move the industry makes toward providing nurses with effective mobile computing solutions translates into better, more efficient patient care.
As mobile computing has evolved over the years, equally so has nursing as a career. Nurses are now not only providing care, but working behind the scenes in IT purchasing and implementation, as well. A 2014 survey of more than 3,000 nurses found that 70 percent of respondents agreed nurses play an important role in medical device integration. With this in mind, a relatively new specialty has evolved - the nursing informatics specialist, a discipline that "integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice," according to HIMSS. It is clear informatics nurses will continue to be instrumental players in the analysis, implementation, and optimization of advanced information systems and emerging technologies that aim to improve the quality of patient care, while reducing costs.
As nursing professionals continue to excel within the healthcare industry at all levels of leadership, their understanding and acceptance of technology will continue to propel the use of digital tools, mobile computing included, into an integrated health experience. Nurses know that mobile, point-of-care computing solutions provide a way to effectively leverage information technology to advance both clinical productivity and patient care quality.
Interested in the growing importance of informatics nurses in the healthcare information technology environment? Check out the 2015 HIMSS Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey to view the full results and infographic.