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Nursing-Centric Design and Clinical Communication for Nurses

· Kim Tucker,

This morning I started my day by reviewing an article entitled, “Nursing-Centric Technology and Usability: A Call to Action.”  One phrase stuck in my mind, “Workarounds are a hallmark of poor technology design and a lack of fit to the required workflow.  Nursing workarounds can be survival tactics to avoid negative impacts on patient care and nurse productivity. They also can serve as a clarion call for a redesign.”

The past 10+ years I have spent working in the industry using my nursing and informatics experience to help develop products which truly take clinical workflow into consideration during the design process.  Success has been realized when a product is intuitive to nurses from the moment they pick it up…when I can watch them use it without having to resort to scribbled reminders on how to use it.  Or when I hear from the nurses, “This just makes sense and fits how I work!”

clinical communication for nursesThis nurse-centric workflow friendly design and clinical communication for nurses was the basis for the PatientTouch Communications application and the end-users are validating that we hit the mark.  While visiting a client site recently, my favorite comment came from a vocal nursing assistant during a feedback session from a group of nurses and nursing assistants.  He said when he first got the smartphone-based application, he didn’t think he was going to like it because he thought “the nurses will be calling or texting me all the time!”  But after the first week, he said that he wouldn’t want to live without it because it is improving communication with other care team members and in turn patient care.  The other team members including the unit secretary agreed. 

And that’s the way things should be simple, effective…and designed for nursing workflow!  But not all secured clinical communication for nurses have been designed to fit nursing workflows even though nurses will be a significant part of the end-user population. 

Keep this in mind when selecting your next clinical communication for nurses solution!

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