SoN Selects Palm For Patient-care Initiative
Feb. 20, 2002 Palm, Inc.today announced that the Columbia
University School of Nursing (CUSN) has selected Palm handheld
computers for an initiative designed to promote evidence-based,
error-free patient care in nursing.
The initiative -- launched in response to the 2000
Institute of Medicine report on medical errors, which estimates
that as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical errors
that occur in-hospital as a result of bad systems -- builds on CUSN's
leadership in Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) and expertise in informatics.
Informatics is the use of information technology by nurses in caring
for patients and in making patient-care decisions.
Information technology also is useful in the administration
of healthcare facilities and the teaching of students to practice
nursing. Beginning with its current Entry-To-Practice (ETP) students,
CUSN provided students with Palm m500 handhelds to enable them to
retrieve such things as medication information right at the point
of care. ETP is a combined B.S./M.S. degree program for those with
degrees in disciplines other than nursing who wish to become APNs.
Columbia plans to integrate Informatics competencies throughout
the curriculum, with the goal being to produce students competent
in state-of-the-art informatics by the end of their studies. Competencies
are leveled for the novice learner, the advanced beginner and for
competent and proficient practitioners, starting with the basic
nursing phase and progressing through master's and doctoral study.
Students Document Patient Care Using Nursing "Language"
Students are expected to document all of their patient encounters
so that they can begin building evidence from practice. To ensure
the validity of the research, CUSN students monitor only those data
elements that respond to nursing care. The program uses specific
nursing taxonomy to categorize data, requiring students to document
their activities using the nursing "language" they will
use once they graduate.
"We're using the Palm m500 handheld for several reasons, including
the Palm Universal Connector, which allows us to use the same cradle
with desktop PCs, even if we move to future Palm handheld models,"
said Vice Dean and Dorothy M. Rogers Professor of Clinical Nursing
Sarah Cook, who directs the project. "Another real plus was
the handheld's expansion capability. Palm Expansion Cards enable
our students to carry enormous amounts
of data easily.
"We're using databases provided by ePocrates, and students
can access them right at the bedside to check treatment protocols
or medication dosages, side
effects, and so on. There is also a new software program, developed
at CUSN, that allows students to enter specific data about their
patients (whose anonymity is protected) that identifies nursing
diagnosis, and interventions and outcomes that can be measured."
The CUSN project benefits faculty and students alike. It allows
faculty to track students' clinical experiences more closely than
before. The detailed information they derive from student experience
allows them to individualize future programs and to strive for error-free,
evidence-based care and
structured nursing languages. In addition, the systematic gathering
of data allows CUSN to develop a reliable database, which could
be used for coding and
billing for APN services. At the same time, Palm handhelds make
it easier for students to collect specific data about their experiences,
a requirement for