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Compassionate Care Part 2: Autonomy in the Acute Care Environment

· Kim Tucker,

This is my second blog on Press Ganey’s Compassionate Care™ model. In the last installment, I reflected on the shackles that computers have brought to our interactions with patients and how smartphone-based technology is changing the traditional workstation on wheels or fixed computer model. This time I would like to reflect on the concept of autonomy and how technology can support this need without loading down clinicians with multiple devices or applications.

One of the images from the Press Ganey report was that the clinician would provide options for pain relief and allow the patient to choose what is needed at that time. I would add to this that the clinician, in most cases a nurse, would need to provide information on what medications they have taken and when, how the medications have been working, and what the other medication options are including possible side effects. So, consider how this can be accomplished in today’s acute care environment.

The nurse can take a workstation on wheels into the patient’s room or use the in-room computer and try to position it where the patient can see it. Then, depending on the design of the EMR, it may be necessary to flip from screen or between application to application to gather the information needed to assist the patient in making an informed decision.

However, with a smartphone-based application working with the EMR, the nurse can have all the needed information in a format that can be handed to the patient. The application has an iOS interface that is probably familiar to most patients today. Working together, the nurse and the patient can discuss possibilities and decide on the best course of action.

Technology that enables patients autonomy – the way it should be.

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