Increase in Quality of Care
The use of computerized management systems such as Meditech and Epic in nursing is vital in several ways. First, without access to information, the clinical judgments arrived at by nurses may neither be assumed nor respected. Use of computer systems is therefore a better way of ensuring that there is proper access and dissemination of vital information. When effectively used, computers improve the management of time. Consequently, nurses have realized the importance of well organized care plans and are increasingly becoming aware of the significance of an integrated perspective to patient care. They have done this by making good use of the voluminous data (Park, Murray and Delaney, 2006, p. 554).
Research has shown that time can be saved on direct nursing activities through the use of information systems. Computerized information systems that store large volumes of hospital information can result to increase in summary and retrieval times. Thus, the speed required to access this information can allow for more contact time with patients as long as staff levels are not reduced.
To obtain information technology that can support nursing, nurses ought to be involved in education, development and research in the field of nursing informatics. Since nurses have the ability to effectively collect, interpret and analyze data from several sensory channels, they can use this data to ascertain the patient’s status and come up with a holistic perception with regard to the situation of the patient (Park, Murray and Delaney, 2006, p. 554).
Moreover, use of computerized information systems in health care gives nurses the ability to display trends and connect certain clinical events for both single and multiple patients. This brings about the ability to confirm or reassess the kind of care that should be accorded to patients. The benefit of having data that is related to many patients in these systems is that it allows interaction between various elements of data (Park, Murray and Delaney, 2006, p. 554).
Through implementation of a computerized documentation system, the home care organization can be able to handle clinical data in a manner that is accurate and efficient and one that enhances patient care. It is important to align the expectations of an organization with its technological capabilities. Nevertheless, this should be done to acknowledge the advantages of computerization. Health organizations that have pioneered the computerization of their documents also demonstrate that a properly executable plan is required for the success of the project. This is besides active staff involvement and the entire organization’s full commitment (Harris, 1997, p. 159).
Active Nursing Involvement
It is the role of the nursing manager to effectively plan and create an atmosphere through which the nursing personnel can be able to accord the patients the required care. This atmosphere enables the clinical nurses and the nursing manager to collaborate in making decisions and other establishments that can be helpful in meeting the objectives of the organization.
Planning gives an organization direction through its objectives, compels a firm to forecast the environment, helps managers to know how to cope up with ambiguity and gives the basis for working as a team. It is supposed to be very comprehensive in enabling nurse managers to develop objectives that they can be able to design and achieve. Instead of leaving long range planning to top managers and short range planning to operational managers, strategic planning requires the input of both clinical nurses and other respective managers (Swansburg, 1996, p. 47).
Planning is therefore a dynamic process in an organization that has the features of an open system. Its importance in the organization that wants to come up with a computerized management system is that, if embraced, it will result to success rather than failure. It will avert any form of crisis or panic which are undesirable. It will therefore improve performance in nursing. Planning allows forecasting techniques to be used in identification of future expectations and opportunities. The forecasting techniques may be simple or complex. The analysis of these techniques will help the organization to implement its objective such as integration of the computerized management system in its documentation (Swansburg, 1996, p. 47).
There is need to redesign work in nursing through the use of technology. This is due to the workforce that is not only aging, but also decreasing. The technological mandate’s purpose is to lead to a better working environment and attract more people into the profession. It is also meant to make aging nurses remain active in direct care roles through the use of technology.
Technological solutions are necessary in ensuring that this goal is met. This can be accomplished by enhancing communication of information through text, video, imaging and voice. Initially, computer supported tasks were regarded as information tasks while communication tasks were those that were supported by telephone. However, these distinctions have tended to fade with the use of telephones in information processing and use of computers in distance conferencing (Huber, 2006, p. 282-283).
It is currently possible to integrate hand-held devices, cell phones and medication administration systems among others with conventional information systems via a wireless intranet. This will ensure that information is conveyed to the right person at the right time and in the required format. When these systems are integrated, they can also enhance efficacy in the collection and processing of clinical data that can be utilized in staffing and management of workload (Huber, 2006, p. 282-283).s
Although the computer and other media of electronic transmission are powerful tools, they are in the same measure liable to compromization of the patients’ confidentiality. The beginning point of an information security system that is meaningful is a security policy that should not only be comprehensive, but also one that should be subject to the policies and procedures of HIPAA. The policy should also be supported and understood by all members of staff. All members of the organization that are likely to access the computer system should be informed on the security policy and be allowed to sign an agreement that requires them to be adherent to the security policy prior to accessing any confidential data (Lindh et al, 2009, p. 197).
After this, the other important step is to ensure that only computer proficient personnel access the system. There should be procedures to ensure that only intended recipients access the files and that other unintended parties do not read the misdirected files by accident. Putting firewalls in place will ensure that people do not use the internet or network interfaces to hack into the system. Control of access to files can also be enhanced through use of passwords and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) of employees who operate the systems. Due to the failure of either the hardware or software, back up systems and other strategies should be used to prevent loss of data and downtime (Lindh et al, 2009, p. 198-199).
It is expensive to implement technological solutions in health care. Showing a return on investment for these expenditures has never been easy. However, a lot of money could be saved after the implementation of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). This could be achieved through reduced clinical procedures that are not necessary, reduced staff time and a rapid retrieval of records (Huber, 2006, p. 276).
Actually, cost – cutting can be achieved by accepting and frequently using these systems. This can be achieved by reducing costs related to paper storage, treatment, personnel and processing delays. Since through the click of a button patient details and images can be accessed, health care personnel do not need to spend time searching for patients’ paper charts that have been misfiled or wait for the copies of the patients’ records to be sent by another health care facility (Tan, 2009, p. 207).
Benefits to Care
Studies show that electronic medical records are beneficial both to the patient care and to the delivery of nursing care. With regard to patient care, first, increasing number of patients with long-term conditions will benefit from electronic records that are shared between different sections of the same organization. Secondly, these systems will increase the integration of care especially for those patients with chronic and long-term conditions. Third, patient safety is enhanced by ensuring that efficacy and safety of new and existing medicines are actively monitored (Great Britain, 2007, p. 48).
In the delivery of nursing care, the use of electronic records ensures that there is no collection and sharing of same information repeatedly and that relevant information is shared in a quick manner. Secondly, medical errors are reduced through the provision of clinical information that is timely and accurate. Thirdly, practicing nurses are able to get support in their daily duties since the systems do not only ease recording of the patients’ information, but also automate the prescription process (Great Britain, 2007, p. 48).
Recommendation and Justification
The right computerized system for the 100 bed community hospital should be based on the system’s ability to make the accessibility of medical records easier and to benefit the delivery of nursing care besides improving patient care. Both Epic and Meditech systems can effectively carry out these functions. However, Meditech should be preferred to Epic. Some of the Meditech softwares that can benefit the hospital include physician care manager which through a single desk top enables doctors to review the patient data, sign records and manage orders; internet software that manages the entire hospital’s access to internet, and a software for managing patient care that verifies bedside medication, facilitates operating room management and provides interface systems in nursing.
Besides, Meditech’s corporate software can enhance: consolidation of staffing, scheduling, hospital’s human resources, general accounting, and materials management, among other roles. The system has a financial benefit to the hospital since it has referral services for child and elder care, a profit sharing trust, a program for employee assistance, referral bonuses and travel stipends (Plunkett, 2006).The Meditech system is also not as expensive as the Epic system which is about three times more expensive. Meditech system does not break down as compared to the way that Epic system often does. These are the reasons as to why the hospital should purchase the Meditech system.
Great Britain (2007). The electronic patient record: sixth report of session 2006-07, Vol. 1: Report, together with formal minutes. London: The Stationery Office.
Harris, M.D. (1997). Handbook of Home Health Care Administration. Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and Nursing Care Management. Pennsylvania: Elsevier.
Lindh, et al. (2009). Delmar’s Comprehensive Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Competencies. New York: Cengage Learning.
Park, H., Murray, P. and Delaney, C. (2006). Consumer-centered computer-supported care for healthy people: proceedings of NI2006, [Seoul], the 9th International Congress on Nursing Informatics. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
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Swansburg, R.C. (1996). Management and Leadership for Nurse Managers. Toronto: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Tan, J.K. (2009). Adaptive Health Management Information Systems: Concepts, Cases, and Practical Applications. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Learning.