Don’t Forget About The Nurses

by Mark Wechsler | Arrow Systems Integration

For most of us in the world of IT and Telecom, working with the clinical staff is stressful at best. They speak a different language than we speak, they are highly educated – in fields that are foreign to us, and most often they are ambivalent towards IT and telecom or worse yet – they are hostile.

The race towards EHR adoption is meeting with mixed emotions. I frequently hear from physicians that they are concerned that it causes them more work and less time in front of the patient, or that it is solving little of the (perceived) problem. They are rushing to get through the day, handling increasing patient volume, and challenged at every turn to accurately capture the correct documentation and coding.

Enter the nursing staff, frequently the patient advocate and most often challenged by sparse resources, work load, and poor communications. Nurses are frequently the first and last access point in the patient’s care. Doing everything from sorting out poorly written ‘scripts to verifying procedures, drugs, and orders. nurses act as the stop-gap to assure the right care, at the right time, for the right patient. As a result, nuring may be the group that can benefit most from technology – supporting the best interests of the physician and patient.

Who else other than the nurse is better suited to take advantage what technology has to offer in terms of assuring the right information is understandably acquired, delivered, and acted on? With today’s advanced communication technologies which are capable of assuring real time information delivery via multi-media sources (e.g., voice and data), we should be spending more of our efforts working with nursing to understand and realize the potential efficiency and productivity benefits these communication services can offer.

Of course, making the effort to translate the technology into the healthcare professional’s language is key. After all, they don’t need to speak our language. We need to learn how to speak theirs.

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