Some of the most important patient information isn't stored in an electronic medical record. It’s captured by the nurse and archived in the nurse’s memory—patient nicknames, favorite TV shows or preferred foods. When nurses spend less time charting and more quality time with patients, there’s often room to focus on all those details that truly personalize care.
We all love to talk about the importance of a quality patient interaction. You’ve seen it before – the literature with imagery of an empathetic, caring clinician-patient interaction and a story about how it contributes to better patient compliance and positive outcomes. Unfortunately the all-too-familiar reality in today’s fast-paced healthcare environment is the struggle to deliver the highest level of care in the shortest timeframe. Too often, that means nurses have to make hard choices.
Recent charting alternatives have nurses trading in their pens and paper for computers, tablets, and smart phones at the point-of-care. But these “digital tools”, too, can disrupt patient interaction and potentially distract nurses from crucial care-giving responsibilities. In any care setting, computer-related tasks often disrupt the caregiver-patient rapport. Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, a well-known physician, author and New York Times medical columnist, notes, “I have often found that I make the best connection with my patient during the physical exam because there is not a computer between us.”
Medical device integration (MDI) frees nurses from the time-consuming task of charting vital signs manually. With MDI, information flows from a device to the EMR, almost completely eliminating the need for clinicians to interact with the paper record or key device data in the computer.
That extra time can be spent connecting more personally with patients. After all, charting is not the reason caregivers choose a healthcare career. One less burdensome task and a little extra breathing room can help us focus more on patient care—what inspired us to go into the profession to begin with. That’s a very valuable way to leverage today’s advanced technology.
What are some ways you remember personal information about patients?