Oh, how I wish tablets were around when I was providing patient care as a Registered Nurse on a busy surgical floor! I had a legion of patients, and masses of information to find and remember ‘in the moment.’ It seemed like I could never find the person or the equipment I needed fast enough.
Sometimes, the most practical option was to take pen to paper (or to my scrubs) to jot down a note, and then go find the information I needed in a chart, the EHR, or reference once I got back to the nurses station. Could I have delivered more timely, efficient and safer care if I had access to the information and data I needed at the patient’s bedside? You bet I could, and here’s how!
Tablets provide information access at one’s fingertips – especially at the patient bedside – helping doctors and nurses to render quick, safe and sometimes lifesaving care. This is echoed in Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports calling for direct care providers to have quick access to electronic references. Moreover, up to 70% of sentinel events in healthcare are caused by poor communications, according to a Joint Commission study (1995-2006). Given these findings, tablets offer a new and improved way to ensure patient safety because up-to-the-minute information and immediate communication is readily available where and when needed.
Come on clinicians … no mater if you are a doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, case manager, educator or another team member … surely you can think of all kinds of ways tablets could enable you to have the information you need when you need it. You and your patients will be all the happier and satisfied for it.
I quickly came up with a short list of ways that tablets, one of several mobile devices, can make a difference for patient care delivery:
- Workflow efficiencies by having access to information and data at the point of care
- Real-time communication amongst team members while in different locations
- Video consultations
- Patient education
- BCMA and real-time drug interaction checking … possibility for a real-time pharmacy consult at the patient’s bedside via voice or video conferencing
- Clinician satisfaction
My questions to you: Have you used a tablet to deliver patient care? If so, what has been your experience – is the tablet adding real value, or is it just “another toy”?
Let us know what you think!