A Nurse’s Perspective: Shifting the Focus from the Computer to the Patient

Nursing today involves far more than just “nursing.” While the patient is always the top priority, sometimes technology gets in the way of hands-on therapeutic care because updating medical records, documenting the administration of medications, and noting any nurse interventions adds up to many hours clicking on the keyboards of a computer per week.

Most nurses are fairly skilled users of technology. We regularly access EHRs, bar-coded medication administration systems, scheduling programs, patient tracking systems, automated communication programs, and more. Typically each of these programs require a separate log-on and password to ensure patient data remains secure. Unfortunately all these log-ons and passwords are not only hard to remember, they also create inefficient workflows.

With all the time nurses spend in front of the computer, it’s a wonder they have enough time in the day to provide direct patient care!

Consider this hypothetical nursing workflow:

  • From a device in a clinical area, a nurse logs into the hospital’s network. This requires a user name that might be 5-10 characters long, plus a password that might be eight or more characters and includes a combination of at least one number and one upper case and one lower case letter.
  • The nurse then accesses the EMR, entering another user name and another (complex) password.
  • After completing documentation in the EMR, the nurse decides to enter an update in the scheduling system. Another user name and password must be entered.
  • The nurse then gets called to a patient room. Before walking away from the computer, the nurse must log out of the system and each of the open programs.
  • Once in the patient room, the nurse needs to verify some details in the patient’s record. Using the computer in the patient room, the nurse logs into the system, then the EMR, then pulls up the specific patient record.
  • Before leaving the patient room, the nurse logs out of the system and all open programs.

Keep in mind that depending on the speed of the system, which may vary throughout the day – the nurse may have to wait a few seconds … or perhaps a minute or more – to log into each program. In a typical 12-hour nursing shift, a nurse may log into the system 60 times and thus spend one or more hours a day simply waiting on this non-value added work.

As a nurse, I know first-hand how common these inefficient and frustrating workflows are in healthcare. Usability issues are common because too few vendors seek the voice of clinicians when designing their products.

Aventura, however, is different. When creating our products, we rely on input from multiple clinicians and are committed to delivering solutions that adapt to how clinicians prefer to work.

For example, the Aventura Roaming Aware Desktop (RAD) provides users with authenticated access with the single tap of a secure card – eliminating the need to enter all those user names and passwords. RAD then immediately launches all the correct clinical applications based on the user’s location (operating room versus patient room, for example). RAD also delivers an extra layer of enterprise security through privacy screen functionality, idle disconnect, and intelligent printer reassignment.

If you are a nurse, this means you are spending less time on the computer and more time at the bedside and actually “nursing.” That’s a boost to both patient and nurse satisfaction, and contributes to improved safety and better outcomes.

Technology is essential in healthcare. At Aventura we believe that by listening to the clinician voice, we are better able to create solutions that allow nurses to maintain the right balance of technology and touch when delivering care.

Regina Cole, DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS

Dr. Cole is an informatics leader with over 20 years of practice, strategic, operational and academic experience in healthcare information technology and nursing. Her clinical background is in adult critical care; she was licensed as a Nurse Practitioner and held CCRN certification for over 20 years. She is the acting Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) for Aventura.

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