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Nurses Concerned About Technology's Effects On Patient Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

As hospitals increasingly implement healthcare information technology, many nurses say they are "overwhelmed with documentation" that requires them to spend more time on computers and less time with patients, the Baltimore Sun reports.

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Although much of this technology offers conveniences -- such as medication delivery, online prescriptions and electronic health records -- nurses still are "juggling the demands" from patients for bedside attention,with one study finding that nurses spend less than half of their time working directly with patients. Nurses also say that some of the technology is inefficient. The concerns about declining time with patients are expected to deepen, as hospital under-staffing -- currently at 6% nationwide, according to the American Hospital Association -- is continuing to stretch nurses thinly.

Patricia Abbot, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing,said, "I didn't become a nurse to be chained to documentation." Anna Schoenbaum, project manager for nursing informatics at the University of Maryland Medical Center,said, "With anything, it's a change in work flow and processes. The more you do it, the more confident you get with it" (Bhanoo, Baltimore Sun, 8/27).

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