By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief
If you’re like most nurses working in a health care organization, you’ve been involved in a migration to electronic health records, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), or bar code medication administration.
If you’re lucky, nursing input was considered during the planning stages of all this health information technology (HIT). We’ve heard from many nurses (and have had a few submissions from nurses about their experiences—see for example the Reflections essay “Paper Chart Nurse”) who have had “issues” with the systems or who wonder, why the big push?
In the August issue of AJN, which is available online and on the iPad (download the app here), Susan McBride and colleagues John Delaney and Mari Tietze debut their three-part series on HIT. The first article, “Health Information Technology and Nursing,” examines the federal policies behind efforts to expand the use of this technology, the importance of meaningful use, and the implications for nurses. Subsequent articles upcoming in the fall will take a closer look at the use of HIT to improve patient safety and quality of care, and the important role nurses are playing—and could play—in this system-wide initiative.
It’s crucial for nurses to understand HIT. As the authors note,
“If HIT systems are going to truly improve care, nurses need a voice in their planning and development to ensure patient safety and system usability. The success of this technology depends on nurses informing the industry—at all levels, from influencing federal policy to providing feedback to their department and facility leaders—about what works best for the patient and the clinician. If wisely implemented, HIT may eventually free up more time for nurses to spend at the bedside . . . ”
We’d love to hear your experiences: Were nurses consulted and included in planning the implementation of HIT at your facility? Was there a thoughtful plan to “roll out” adoption? Do you see computerized health records as a help or hindrance? What would you change? Let us know how it is in your practice area.