Adapting to Technology Changes in Nursing

By Cathy Fant on Thu, Jul 04, 2013

nursing technologyChanges are always happening and technology in nursing is not an exception. The first step is to push for the adoption of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) whether in a hospital or ambulatory setting. However, there is not just one EHR system, but multitudes. The dilemma is how to choose the one that best “fits” the requirements and financial resources of the organization. How these choices are made is a very complicated process that involves many key staff.

It is critical that there is “buy in” by upper management and especially the physicians. Nursing also plays a very critical role because it is the largest group that uses new technologies. Consequently, nurses also participate in the selection and implementation of these applications. They are often chosen as “superusers” and the ones who primarily teach the rest of the staff how to use the new application. Thus, health care industry has the opportunity to make a significant impact on the selection of nursing technology.

How these applications are chosen has a direct impact on the staff. That is why it is so critical for various levels of the staff to be involved in the entire process of technological adaptations. The changes required by the entire organization can be very daunting when new technologies are introduced. Change is not easy for anyone. Therefore, it is essential that detailed plans are made regarding its implementation. Unless the organization is well prepared, acceptance of new technologies will not be adequate to ensure implementation and utilization.

Fortunately, there are so many resources that can be “tapped”  to find the right application for an organization. Organizations can contact other facilities who are using the application to know what they have on the particular innovation. In addition, vendors have sites in which staff can sample the application. It is so important to discover as much as possible what it means to “use” it. These EHRs are very expensive and once they are bought, it is a shame to discard them even if they do not 'fit' the overall system.

Other resources for information are nursing organizations such as ANIA-CARING whose members are very knowledgeable of “nursing informatics”. Their members can ask questions about specific prgrams and receive useful replies. Another incredible resource is Health care Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Even for non-members, there are resources that are free to the public.

In closing, when applications are chosen, it is very important to do so with careful consideration with all levels of the staff. The adoption of new technologies requires the “buy in” of all who will use them or the application will not provide the positive outcomes on patient care- the reason you are adapting the health care technology in the first place.

Nursing needs to go with the changes in technology. It can be helpful for the implementation of more improved patient care.

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