Reader Responds to Nurse Survey: Don't Exaggerate IT Benefit

Please don't distort the news. 1.) The question about improving care in no way states that IT improves care. The actual question is: "How do you think the use of IT might affect the quality of patient care?"  Eighty-six percent think that it would not improve.  2.) According to the study, IT actually takes the nurse away from the bedside for more than three hours per day. That's more than a third of their day and in some cases even more. 3.)  Seventy-two percent  don't think that IT saves time. Statistics work in mysterious ways. You used them to actually distort the information to sell your point.

I am actually a big IT fan and think that there is a great potential for its use, but it has a long way to go to actually improve care. The only improvements I have seen to date are bar coding to prevent medication errors and CPOE -- if, and that's a big IF -- the orders are actually entered by a physician. Hospitals must be willing to spend the money to improve the technology that they give their nurses. PDA-type handhelds with bar-code readers would be a start, so that the nurse does not have to push around a bulky cart with a laptop built in, or go to a limited number of computer stations located away from the bedside.

Thanks you for listening.

Israel Miller, MA, B.S.N., RN

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