Schools Training

Advancements in Nursing Research

7 MAR 2014
Career Path : Nursing

Patient care information systems were created as a building block to make health care safer. Used by health care professionals in all departments, the systems provide instant access to all aspects of a patient’s records, which minimizes the possibility of wrong decisions. Computerized provider order entry, also known as CPOE, combined with automated reminder systems are meant to work to reduce problems by eliminating illegible entries, enhance communication, monitor for inappropriate orders and remind healthcare providers of upcoming care actions.

Surprising IT Problems

After extensive hours of evaluation, some of the problems that the researchers found in using PCIS and CPOE systems include the fact that professionals relied too heavily on the technology for making the right decisions. The systems might also increase clerical work tasks, which is economically inefficient. While it remains obvious that PCIS systems are a necessary component of high-quality healthcare, the technology may demonstrate more of a weak link in the chain. Students taking nursing unit clerk courses should keep this factor in mind when becoming acquainted with the technology.

Glitches in hardware and software were more prevalent than anticipated. Most problems are widely recognized and easily resolved if companies thoroughly tested the equipment. Researchers are more concerned with the hidden errors that occur due to a mismatch between PCIS function and the demands of the medical field. These difficulties vary from one facility to the next and only surface when an organization begins using the system.

Issues with Data Entry and Retrieval

Entry and retrieval of information remains at the core of daily activity in healthcare settings. PCIS applications must demonstrate quick response, be user-friendly, have minimal downtime and provide easy access. These factors are often not realized. Interfaces might require costly time, become quickly outdated, have no navigation assistance and have unnecessary repetition. Additionally, a mismatch between interface and use context on screens often creates the possibility for juxtaposition error. Patients may then receive the wrong medication or treatment. Physicians may experience difficulty in finding the information needed.

Having to simultaneously scan through different screens or extensive pages to find pertinent information is also problematic. On the other hand, some systems feature standard templates that give the illusion of completeness when the data is actually more in depth elsewhere. Communication and workflow are often affected, as systems lack the information needed to evaluate all of the scenarios in a particular situation. A discontinued medication, for example, does not display the last dose provided, which was given after the DC notification was received, which makes the program inflexible. Likewise, urgent orders needing an immediate response in real time may not be displayed on programs until someone enters the information at a later time.

Problem Solving Solutions

Dealing with the many problems of information technology systems includes the need for further education. Healthcare professionals must know precise capabilities of programs concerning practical use, and nursing unit clerk courses can help with this. System developers should also clearly divulge the limitations of the technology. During and following the implementation process, organizations must perform continual monitoring for possible safety issues.

Visit Thompson Career College for more information on nursing unit clerk courses.