Robots, electronic records and hand-held devices streamline care but hinder bedside manner, some say.
One nurse is pushing a computer on wheels into a patient's room; another is meeting up with Harriet, a robot that has arrived bearing medications. In a pleasant female voice, Harriet is repeatedly saying, "Your deliveries are here."
One floor down, another nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center is writing patient notes onto a clipboard-size computer. And throughout the hospital, nurses and others are making the switch to online prescriptions.
The equipment relies on wireless connections available since 2001, and the transition to electronic health records began almost four years ago. Prescription orders were the latest conversion, with the majority of the hospital online by last Tuesday.
"With anything, it's a change in workflow and processes. The more you do it, the more confident you get with it," said Anna Schoenbaum, project manager for nursing informatics at the center.
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