Medical Device Integration Blog

The Right Technology at the Right Time

Posted by Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN on Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:46 AM

I find myself spending large amounts of time in airports, arriving early to get through strict security, or passing time in terminals due to weather or mechanical delays. During those periods, I seek refuge at a quiet boarding gate that has a high concentration of power outlets or Internet access. Finding these spots is often a challenge, as I peer under seats, circle support columns and poke around vending machines. Occasionally, if I'm lucky, I run across a re-charging station to at least take care of my power needs.

These recharging stations are becoming more and more popular as business travelers flock to them to charge a plethora of devices. There you can find the latest "must have" or "cool" device / gadget on the market. But as I glance at the array of devices, I wonder, "Is cool always smart?" As a nurse, what really matters to me is the impact a device has on workflow or how I do my job, not necessarily its "coolness."

By many estimates, the typical nurse spends approximately 2 hours a shift simply keeping numbers current in patient medical records. By the time the doctors and multidisciplinary care team actually receive the information, it's often already outdated. To me, "smart" gadgets should help me decrease the time I spend inputting data and increase the time I spend directly caring for my patients.

Mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones, may be the latest technology, and what many hospitals are considering incorporating into every part of nursing workflow. But I'm not so sure these devices will help a nurse achieve what he/she intends. In my experience, adding to nurses' tool belts (which can include as many as 15 other devices) can sometimes weigh us down rather than increase the time directly interacting with patients. We should be "hands on" with our patients, not with another device.

As nurses, our focus should always be on delivering safe, competent, and compassionate care. We should take caution with becoming the first to use an innovative new technology. So, before moving ahead with the introduction of the latest and greatest mobile technologies, perhaps a hospital should consider the following items:

  • Is it easy to use? Has it been thoroughly tested in the care environment?

  • How many steps must the nurse complete in order to get data to its end location? Is it intuitive? Simple? Fast?

  • Does it need to be put down for best data input? Where do we put the device if the patient needs our immediate attention? Then what about the transmission of infectious properties as we go from room to room?

As with any technology purchase, good research and asking the right questions are musts to help assure the tools acquired are more than "cool," but actually useful. When it comes to nursing and patient care, that usefulness equates to quality care, so we must be aware of the shiny new gadget and be confident that we are implementing the right technology, for the right people, at the right point in time.

(Originally posted on

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Tags: Nurses, Healthcare Technology

The Big Picture of Patient Care

Posted by Karen Lund, RN BSN on May 22, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Nurses often talk about understanding “the big picture” in order to provide safe, competent care. As technologies move closer to the bedside, the practicing nurse naturally becomes a major user of them. As a nurse, it’s critically important that we know our patients.  That means, connecting the technologies and data together to get a clear picture about the true state of the patient.  However, with complicated patients the focus is sometimes blurry.

Knowing your patient well – having an accurate assessment of trending data and a good practice foundation – will help bring that picture into focus. But, with constantly evolving health care reform, the worsening nursing shortage and the increase in the elderly population, our workplace will demand nurses to be even more adaptable, efficient and flexible.  We will no longer be able to make slow changes in practice, but will need to predict outcomes accurately, and swiftly alter our practice to keep up with future demands. That makes research, evidence-based interventions and clinical decision support – information technology – critical to getting the “big picture” and improving patient care. 

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Tags: Patient Care, Patient Safety, Nurses, Healthcare Technology

Who’s On Your Selection Committee?

Posted by Halley Cooksey, RN on May 14, 2014 @ 06:03 PM

For football lovers (which if you recall, I am not) the hopes and dreams of their favorite team winning a Super Bowl began to take form with the recently completed official NFL draft. My husband, the notorious arm-chair quarterback, is jazzed that his beloved Cleveland Browns have drafted Mr. Football aka Johnny Manziel.

I, on the other hand, feel ambiguous about it, but if it is one less play called from his recliner this year then I am psyched too! But I have to admit that from the non-football lover’s perspective, I find all the strategy that goes into making the right draft picks interesting. Whether it’s trading a first round pick for two or three second round picks, or aligning draft picks for a better position next year, all this strategizing got me thinking about how this relates to healthcare.

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Tags: Medical Device Integration, Implementation, Healthcare Technology

Eyeing Technology Development in 2020... Machine Learning Algorithms

Posted by Stuart Long, CMSO on Jan 13, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

"Looking ahead, the first technology that we believe will drive the future of healthcare is in the area of Machine Learning algorithms, also known as artificial intelligence, neural networks or massively trained artificial neural networks. Given the amount of information being collected from patients in various care settings, the need to provide surveillance and intelligent decision support and/or computer-aided diagnosis to further improve patient care will become imperative. Additionally, the use of this data to ensure early detection and maintain patient’s health will become paramount as the need to understand the enormity of data across such broad environments will exceed the capacity of a single human or care team.

This will be an evolution of existing analytics solutions, and our expectations is that machine learning technologies will become required to ensure the creation of a data overload safety net.

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Tags: Industry News, Health IT, Industry Forecast, Healthcare Technology