Nursing and Technology
The first computer was introduced to hospitals in the late 1960s in an attempt to better capture patient billing. Since the 1960s, computer technology has grown and marked its presence in the health care system. In the 1980s the term nursing informatics was introduced for the first time and was defined as “the combination of nursing, information, and computer sciences to manage and process data into information and knowledge for use in nursing practice” (Murphy, 2010, p. 204). As technology evolved and transformed so did the definition. In 2008, the American Nurses Association defined nursing informatics as “a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice” (p. 65). It is through this definition that the ANA attempts to bring today’s practice back to basics by “using technology to promote health and quality patient care” (Murphy, 2010, p. 205). Safety is a key factor in promoting health and quality care, and many changes that have been implemented in the health informatics can be attributed to improving safety. Computer applications that have been implemented in many hospital settings are physician order entry, electronic medication administration record, and electronic medical record. These applications have a great impact on today’s nursing care.
Again, one goal of health information technology is safe quality patient care. The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) has gained national attention over the past decade. “The Institute of Medicine has encouraged adopting EMR to reduce medical errors, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 established financial incentives for hospitals to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health IT” (Lee, Kuo and Goodwin, 2013, p. 1). The EMR ensures continuity of care by automating the information that is entered, which allows for the clinician to better understand the patient condition and make better clinical decisions. It also provides a more accurate and unified patient record, which includes patient registration, orders, departmental systems such as nursing, pharmacy, radiology, and lab, just to name a few (Blais & Hayes, 2011).
The EMR provides structure for documentation; registered nurses “record patient condition, care given, measurements taken and medication administration through menu driven checklists of nursing diagnosis, human body systems and common patient problems” (Aragon-Penoyer, Cortelyou-Ward & Briscoe, 2014 ). The EMR notifies the nursing staff when certain tasks are due to be completed such as assessments, wound care, turning the patient, oral care, and activity. The EMR issues necessary reminders to staff about reassessing evidence based protocols such as need for foley catheters and central lines. Staff can then track trends that affect quality improvements in patient care and make recommendations for...