Industrywide standards on interoperability and other information technology innovations would allow nurses to spend more time at the bedside, members of the nursing community said at a Washington briefing.
Nurses spend only 30% of their time on direct patient care, said Linda Burnes Bolton, vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at 855-bed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and president of the American Academy of Nursing, said at a meeting sponsored by the academy. This is because their time is being compromised by inefficient work processes and environments, she said.
To address this problem, the American Academy of Nursing Workforce Commission conducted a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to determine how technology could assist in the elimination of wasteful practices, increase time at the bedside and improve patient care.
Research identified more than 300 workflow issues. Documentation, delivery and coordination of care, communication, medication administration, and supplies and equipment were among the areas that needed improvement.
To address these issues, there needs to be one industry standard for interoperability, said Pam Cipriano, chief clinical officer of the University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville. Nurses should also be included in the design of technology to reduce opportunities for error, and the developers should ensure that their products are user-friendly, Cipriano said.