Reflection on Healthcare Technologies
Week 4 Reflection Helen Einer NURS-6015 Information and Healthcare Technologies Applied to Nursing Practice Walden University July 24, 2010 Week 4 Reflection The ongoing development of computer technology and telecommunications has provided the healthcare industry with continuous opportunities to enhance communication, provide education, improve patient safety, and create new IT jobs within the industry. By 2014, the American health care industry will look toward full adoption of electronic health records (Hood, 2010, p. 386).
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The resources and information along with discussions with fellow classmates during the first half of this course has greatly improved my understanding of the numerous aspects of medical and nursing informatics. Prior to enrolling in this course my concept of nursing informatics was rather limited. I believed that nursing informatics was utilizing a computer at the bedside while providing patient care to document data and information. While nurses continue to utilize computers to document, I have come to realize that nursing informatics also provides nurses with limitless resources for their patients, families, coworkers, and themselves.
Nursing informatics is considered a subspecialty of healthcare informatics. Nursing informatics facilitates the integration of data, information and knowledge to support patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision making in all roles and settings (Hebda & Czar, 2009, p. 12). Over the past ten years in my nursing career, I have seen many changes regarding the use of informatics which play key roles in the delivery of patient care. It is no wonder that informatics is now a specialized field and is a necessity, not a luxury, in today’s rapidly changing healthcare delivery system (Hebda & Czar, p. 1). The weekly discussions have shown that many healthcare systems across the country have some of the same issues and concerns regarding medical informatics, especially computerized physician order entry (CPOE), HIPAA regulations and patient safety. Patient safety is always a concern for all hospital systems. Even though the healthcare system where I work implemented CPOE in 2007, the weekly resources have made me further understand the importance of CPOE and the role it plays in ensuring patient safety.
CPOE is software that permits physicians to enter their hospital or outpatient orders directly into a computer system (Reider, 2003). The introduction of CPOE at our facility was met with some resistance due to the lack of involving the physicians in the early stages of the project planning. Our facility has been working diligently to try and make the system easier to use and less time consuming. This course has made me realize that CPOE, although difficult to implement, is capable of saving time, money and ensuring patient safety.
The concept of telehealth is an area that I was unfamiliar with prior to enrolling in this course. Once again, the resources along with discussions regarding telehealth provided me with better insight into another area of healthcare that has limitless opportunities for nursing informatics. The idea of reducing costs, increasing choices and having more services available to keep people home longer is ideal especially with our aging population and of great interest to me. Through researching articles and reviewing the material for this course, I found many positive outcomes that telehealth can provide for everyone involved.
Patients who live in remote areas could receive care with the use of videoconferencing and monitors. Some other benefits pointed out by Hebda and Czar (2009) include reducing costs related to home healthcare services, availability of educational resources for caregivers as well as for clients, and an inclusive method by which patients may access healthcare. There are a number of major issues in looking at the negative aspects of telehealth which include lack of reimbursement, licensure, legal issues, and confidentiality (HIPAA).
The cost to implement telehealth also varies depending on the type of system required and not all facilities have the capital to begin such an endeavor. Reimbursement and licensure issues remain two of the major barriers to the growth and practice of telehealth (Hebda & Czar, 2009, p. 441). Regardless of the disadvantages and other issues, I believe that telehealth will provide quality care for patients along with offering nurses new career opportunities. As a nursing leader, I think the use of technology will enable us to meet quality targets, enhance patient safety, and improve nursing workflow along with patient outcomes.