Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nurses For Technology Advancement in Extended Care

What thoughts run through your mind when you think of Health Care and Technology? (More specifically – focusing on Extended Health Care, Long-term Care, and Home Care technology) Technologies like the EMR, electronic medical record, the touch screen, and other advanced systems making significant differences in patient care today.

Do you know what runs through my mind about Extended Care & Technology – regardless of how great the technology is or perceived to be? I am thinking about the nurses and care givers that are challenged to effectively use the technology. Are the nurses and care givers forgotten while technologists, administrators, management, investment organizations, and the regional and national advocacy groups move forward into 2009 and beyond?

To implement new technology – takes shifts in existing paradigms, processes, and training. All of this shifting takes place while the nurse and care giver continue to serve the patient. I am not a nurse. I do not have an extensive healthcare background. I have been in healthcare technology for a little over 4 years. I have been talking with many nurses lately and I am realizing (finally) what the care giver and nurses are going though with regards to successfully implementing and using advanced software systems, EMR’s, and POC technologies.

Care givers and nurses have been intimately involved with software and technology in patient care for decades. From IV therapy after the World Wars, to the introduction of the ICU in the 1960’s, to the current use of mini-laptops and other digital devices, nurses have become accustomed to and experienced in using technology adapted from many arenas for administering patient care. The bonding of healthcare and technology has created an industry that now drives both the standard and the rising costs of healthcare. But while nurses were busy adapting to the microchip driven IV pumps and monitoring patient vitals with digital devices - other significant aspects of their work, specifically documentation and communication have remained, as a the newest challenge, tied to pen and paper, and face-to-face, or phone-to-phone encounters.

How can non-nurse healthcare technology designers, engineers, and programmers really understand the impact on the nurse and her work as we shift from a low technology to a high technology environment? Does advancements in healthcare technology push us away from the humanistic side of patient care? Could technology stifle morale and/or team-work? Can these new tools cut the quality of patient care? Do we perceive the overall value of the nurse becoming less valued when we use technology to replace some of the traditional more simplistic but important tasks or skills of the nurse? How can we truly know these answers once & for-all?

I have a wild and crazy idea: How about we ask the nurses who use the technology everyday and are expected to accept and learn new technology and the challenges created by these technological advancements?

Sometimes there is both willingness and a rejection to adopt innovations at both an individual and unit-based level in extended care, long-term care, and home care today. Nurses from the same unit may have different degrees of efficacy and willingness to adopt innovation. Implications of this continuing movement are serious. The faster we understand the nurses challenges, opinions, and ideas – the faster we can empower the nurse, innovate, and use new technology to provide better patient care.

This blog is dedicated to senior care nurses that “get it done” everyday with or without technology - or even power for that matter. This blog is dedicated to the nurses who use existing technology in the extended care facilities and their opinions, views, experiences, and outlooks on healthcare and technology of today and tomorrow.

I need your experiences, opinions, and ideas – to help spread – your words – about technology in extended care today. I will be searching for guest bloggers and several regular writers.
If you are interested in becoming involved in this wonderful, challenging, and technologically changing industry as a “blogger” – please contact me at your earliest convenience:

Todd S. Eury
or call me toll free at (877) 775-EURY (3879).


Fisher, J. & Wang, R. (October 19, 2000). eHealth report: The Cure is in hand - Bringing Information Technology to Patient Care.
McBride, S.H., & Nagle, L.M. (May/June 1996). Attitudes Toward Computers - A Test of Construct Validity. Computers in Nursing, 14(3), 164-170.

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