This year, National Health IT Week (#IHEARTHIT) is celebrating stories about how HIT has impacted our lives. For years, I have been lecturing about cognitive workload, cognitive shifts and cognitive stacking. These concepts illustrate how much information a clinician can handle during a shift, how often we have to change gears when we’re interrupted, and how many details — including the what, when, how and why of a patient’s care — we have to remember at one time. Add to that our personal life stresses and concerns – children, family, finances, and more. And it’s just too much! The result is the staggering number of “missed care” events: missed pain meds, missed documentation, missed alerts and missed communication that can cause suffering for both clinicians and patients.
I still wake up from what I call “bad nurse” nightmares. Those dreams that make you bolt up in bed in the middle of the night thinking, “Did I give the patient in room 402 his meds?” “Did I do my document for the patient in 412?” Or the worst one (which wasn’t real, thank goodness), “when was I assigned four more patients that I missed caring for all shift?!”
At their core, these nightmares were the result of the overwhelming amount of information we must keep track of for patients in our care. We are the first line of defense for patients entrusted to us – a huge responsibility. Patients and their loved ones rely on our expertise, accuracy, judgment, and ability to know and remember all the details required to properly take care of them.
Enter mobile technology and its incredible potential for supporting us in patient care. Patient care technology has to be mobile. Really mobile. Not a bulky COW/WOW, not a laptop in the patient’s room – but on a smartphone that moves easily and quickly with us, right in your pocket. And that technology needs to serve up relevant patient and clinical information in a way that maps to our daily tasks. When everything I need to care for my patients – access to the assigned and on-call care team, alerts, nurse calls, vitals, meds, labs, as well as workflows like rounding tasks and reminders are in one smartphone app right in my hand, the technology is now serving me.
PatientTouch® has thought of all that. For nurses today using PatientTouch, they can spend more time with patients, have confidence that they’re doing what needs to be done for the right patient at the right time, and have fewer of those “nurse nightmares.” Designed by clinicians for clinicians, when nurses and physicians see it for the first time, they get it. They understand immediately how PatientTouch will make their lives easier and help them do the work they love.
Above all, PatientTouch gives us peace of mind. “Bad nurse” nightmares become a thing of the past; critical items don’t fall through the cracks; and those in our care are ensured the best outcome humanly possible…with some help from a very smart, clinician-oriented technology.
Happy National Health IT Week (#IHEARTHIT) to my fellow nurses and colleagues!