Health information technology studies now being conducted are focusing efforts to return nurses to patients' bedsides.
Nurses are spending about 20% of their time per patient during a 12-hour shift in clinical care, said Ann Hendrich, vice president of clinical excellence operations and chief nursing officer at Ascension Health. Hendrich spoke during the National Quality Forums annual policy conference held Sept. 26-27 in Washington.
St. Louis-based Ascension in partnership with Kaiser Permanente is conducting a study of how and where nurses spend their time. The time and motion study is being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and hopes to identify specific variables in the acute-care environment that can be altered to create a better impact on patients' health and safety, and free nurses to focus on their core competencyhelping patients, Hendrich said.
Hospitals across 15 states representing more than 63,000 beds are participating in the study, which uses electronic hand-held devices and radio-frequency identification tags to track where nurses are, such as at a nursing station, in a patient's room, gathering supplies or finding medication. Initial results indicate that the least amount of time is spent with patients, Hendrich said.
Full results will be published later this fall.