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Medical Device Integration Blog

Healthcare IT: A Nurse’s Revealing Perspective

Posted by Cyndi Coyne, RN on Nov 19, 2014 @ 02:54 PM

Hey! IT departments, CIOs, CNIOs! Did you know that your nurses are NOT happy!?! The results of a survey by Black Book Market Research were just released and it isn’t good. More than 13,000 nurses were surveyed for Black Book’s EHR Loyalty Poll and, I’ll warn you, what they had to say may be very tough to hear.

Nurses’ dissatisfaction with their electronic health record system is at an all-time high with 92% saying they were unhappy with the EMR system in their healthcare facility. That’s a shockingly high number!

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Tags: Patient Care, Patient Safety, Nurses, Workflow, Health IT, Healthcare Technology, Nursing Stories, Clinical, Healthcare IT Departments

Wish List

Posted by Halley Cooksey, RN on Nov 13, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

The holiday season seems to have officially kicked off this past weekend. It seems to happen earlier each year. Gone are all the witches, bats, and ghoul decorations. In their place are festive trees strung with lights, with only the occasional Thanksgiving turkey to break things up. Soon we’ll face the barrage of commercials advertising the countless ways we can spend our holiday budgets. Many of us will spend hours listening to our children and grandchildren describe in very finite detail all the things they have placed on their wish list and how they promise to behave so they’ll get as many of the coveted gifts as possible.

Like our children, as adults we also have wish lists for our toys and that can extend into our professional lives. As nurses we have wish lists for things that will make our work life not only easier, but also allow us to truly practice our profession – caring for patients. Do you have a wish list? What sort of things do you wish for to help you in your daily practice? Do you wish for the kind of technology that can enhance your nursing practice and not hinder or slow it down? We know that no amount of technology will ever be able to replace our assessment skills, our ability to connect with a patient or their family members. There isn’t any form of technology that can console them during a very trying time; nor can technology wipe away a tear or put a band-aid over an injection site. However, we also know that technology can help free up the time for us to give our patients the kind of attention they need and that we want to provide.

If you could create a wish list of the things technology could do for you as nurse, what would you put on it and why? Would you wish for tools that could decrease the amount of time you spend documenting in a patient’s record? Or, perhaps a technology that could help you see the subtle changes in your patients and could alert you that they are beginning to decline and are in need further intervention? We want to hear your thoughts!

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Medical Device Integration, Nurses, Health IT, Healthcare Technology, Nursing Stories, Medical Device Information System, Clinical, Clinical Documentation

The Pecking Order of Device Integration

Posted by Halley Cooksey, RN on Sep 26, 2014 @ 03:16 PM

When I first became a nurse, one of my favorite questions to be asked was “What kind of nurse are you?” The fine print of this question, of course, is “where in the hospital do you work?” I would swell with pride and proudly state that I was an “ER” nurse.

As far as I was concerned (at that time) an ER nurse was the best kind of nurse anyone could be. Sure, working in the critical care area must have its challenges, but how hard is it to take care of an intubated patient who I had so kindly stabilized for you? As for the nurses on the floor, I mean, really? These patients were of the walkie-talkie population. Hang a few bags of IVs, push a little Lasix and remind your nurse tech to measure their output. Obviously nothing compares to the ER.

Fast forward many years to today and I have to tell you what an awakening I have had. After leaving the ER for a myriad of reasons, I crossed over to the dark-side of nursing … also affectionately known as “HIT”. It was during my years working as a clinical systems analyst that everything I thought I knew about med-surg floors made me realize that I had no concept of what it was to walk in their shoes and understand what their workflow was all about.

The nurses who worked on the med-surg unit were taking care of a complex, diverse group of patients with varying degrees of acuity; more times than not, without the assistance or extra set of helping hands of a patient care tech, because the patient care tech was in a room with a confused geriatric patient who couldn’t be left alone. I watched these nurses document on napkins, scrubs and sometimes bed sheets all while taking phone calls from different doctors and receiving orders. Additionally, they were working with social services, the hospice nurse and every other visitor who decided to stop them in the hall and ask about their loved ones. I remember thinking, who signs up for this gig? To say the least, I was humbled by their dedication.

The big picture of this is that “floor” nurses are the ones in need of technology to complement their workflow and not impede it. Technology should not be seen as “big brother” watching over their shoulders, but as an extra set of eyes to help them do what they do best: take care of patients.

Interestingly enough, though, med-surg units are typically that last areas to be thought of for medical device integration. Walk into any critical care area and you’ll likely see monitors feeding to a central station that, in turn, feeds directly to an EMR. Ventilators are cutting edge and their data is flowing to the EMR, as well. Conversely, walk onto a med-surg unit and you’ll likely observe nurses with tattoos of vital signs up and down their arms, or on scraps of paper that they will later transcribe. Their patients’ data is just as important as the patients sitting in the critical care unit or ER, right?

So, here’s an interesting thought to ponder: Typically, there are more med-surg beds in a facility than ER beds and critical care beds combined; therefore, there are more med-surg nurses working at any given time than there are in all the other areas put together. The med-surg areas are the backbone of the hospital. As a general cultural oddity, why is it that these areas are the last to get connected? Why are they not seen as mission critical like other areas of the hospital?

I’d like to hear your opinion as to why this is the case and how we can change this thought process.

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Nurses, Nursing Stories, Clinical, Med-Surg

Multitasking Nightmares? Tame Them with A MDIS

Posted by Karen Lund, RN BSN on Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:00 PM


Rising patient acuity and dramatically shortened hospital stays are threatening nurses’ ability to meet the needs of their patients. We are constantly on the move, switching from activity to activity, too often finding it difficult to spend enough time with our patients.

How many times have you had to tap your super-power multitasking abilities? Daily? Take, for example, the following all too common scenario. Patient #1 is coming back from surgery. The blood bank calls to say the packed red blood cells are ready for patient #2. You’re waiting for labs in order to give medications to patient #3. Your nurse aide has just informed you that your confused patient #4 has just fallen out of bed and requires immediate help. And patient #5 is waiting for you to complete brand new procedures for discharge paperwork so he can leave the hospital. Sound eerily familiar?

Nurses have adapted to the endless demands for our attention in order to meet both patient needs and their facility’s goals. Distractions may come in many forms on top of patient care, such as new equipment, increased education for new procedures, documentation requirements, and orienting new staff. Krichbaum (2007) reported 40% or more of a nurse’s workday is outside of direct patient care. So what happens when nurses feel like they’re no longer helping the patient and that they’re overwhelmed with non-value tasks? Burn out?

A Medical Device Information System (MDIS) can help nurses gain back more time by helping improve the efficiency of patient documentation. It automatically integrates your medical device data into your hospital’s information system(s), which can save documentation time, increase communication, all while improving accuracy and timeliness. Moreover, in addition to providing connectivity with the EMR, an MDIS delivers monitoring, management and analysis of real-time patient data, enabling nurses to recognize signs of a patient’s physiological deterioration.

Why is this important? An MDIS is one of the few IT solutions that can take some of the pressure off those who give care to our loved ones, while offering real enhancements to the quality of care we are so committed to deliver.

If your facility has already deployed medical device integration capabilities, what kind of impact has it had on your daily activities? And if you haven’t, what’s holding you back?

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Tags: Patient Care, Workflow, Medical Device Information System, Clinical, Clinical Documentation

Growing Wings to Fly

Posted by Halley Cooksey, RN on Apr 09, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

I remember my first day “flying solo” as a nurse as if it were yesterday. I arrived 15 minutes early, my scrubs pristinely ironed, brand new sneakers, and even a brand new stethoscope. I was “dressed for success”, as they say.

I was scared out of my mind, but I figured that if I at least looked the part, no one would know that I had graduated from nursing school only 3 months before. I walked out onto the floor (did I mention it was an emergency department that typically sees around 70,000 patients a year?) and walked up to the charge nurse to receive my assignment. Her words were: “Don’t freak out, I am here to help you. You have rooms 2 through 5 and hallway beds 3, 4, and 5. None of the patients in the hallways have been triaged yet and all need to be registered”.  

I remember asking her if she was joking (not even Florence Nightingale could handle this type of assignment). However, true to her word, this woman, seeing the fear in my eyes, was by my side and encouraged me throughout my entire shift. She was never more than a few steps away. She was hands off enough to let me figure out how to organize things, but close enough to “gently suggest” when I may need to reprioritize.

When my shift was over, I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. My fancy, new sneakers looked like they had been run over by a semi and I’d lost my brand new stethoscope. Even with all of that, there was a silver lining. I was shown what it is to be a nurse: how to give selflessly not only to my patients, but to another nurse. And I was shown that a few positive words can make all the difference.

Finally, I was welcomed into nursing with open arms. I often think about that day and I have to tell you; had she not been there to support me, I don’t know if I would have made it. Instead of her “eating the young” as we say in nursing, she taught me how to use my “wings” to fly.

Was there someone there to encourage you? What have you done to encourage a new nurse?Every one of us has a story to tell about our first day on our own as a nurse.
Share yours!
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Tags: Nurses, Nursing Stories, Clinical

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