Health Information Technology and Wasted Efforts

One of the most common examples of wasted efforts that I see is the time spent on technological issues and problems that arise when nurses use electronic documentation or any other tools that require personal computers or laptops.

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As computers can lag due to overuse, clinical practice and data transmittance are impaired severely. Furthermore, computer errors and inconvenient software design are not only unable to reduce time spent on data processing but also leads to wasted efforts of nurses who need to obtain data about a patient and cannot do it. Some data captured by technology is never used but never deleted as well, which adversely impacts storage and requires more time to find relevant information (Harrington, 2012).

The IT itself is a helpful tool in health care, but its implementation sometimes has more negative outcomes than positive ones. It is possible that some users are not familiar with these technologies and do not understand how to work with them. Nevertheless, when technology itself causes wasted time and effort because it interferes with clinical practice and increases misunderstandings during indirect communication, health care professionals need to understand how these technologies can be improved and whether it is a managerial or engineering problem that IT cannot make clinical practice more efficient.

The use of obsolete or not tested technology should be banned as well because such soft- and hardware can lead to deadly medical errors. Unplanned downtime can result in extremely high losses for the facility and reimbursement demands from insurance providers. All informational resources need attention and control not only from IT professionals but nursing leaders as well to understand how IT supports or interferes with the workflow.

References

Harrington, L. (2012). The role of nurse informaticists in the emerging field of clinical intelligence. In NI 2012: Proceedings of the 11th international congress on nursing informatics (pp. 162-170). Bethesda, MD: American Medical Informatics Association.

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