Computing At The Bedside
According to Andrew Galbus, a lead analyst programmer working with
clinical computer applications in Rochester, MN and an MBA candidate:
"Most healthcare organizations have been developing electronic
medical record systems. Gaining access to the patients electronic
record becomes a particular challenge in the hospital at the bedside.
One way to give access is to put a computer at each bedside. Another
option is to deploy wireless networked computers giving flexibility
and potentially cost savings to the organization."
This original research paper was compiled to determine whether
or not an organization could implement wireless computers for bedside
documentation and review less expensively than installing a fixed
workstation at every bedside. The study involved researching literature
as well as conducting a survey of healthcare organizations. The
survey asked questions regarding how long the organization had been
using wireless and why they chose the technology. It also asked
if they were able to justify the costs.
In order for portable devices to be helpful for nursing, they
must be small and easy enough to be able to input data. Physicians,
on the other hand, need something large and fast to retrieve
and view data. This is not easily matched in one device. This
can lead to small handheld devices for data entry and laptops
for text entry and viewing data
Computer devices for wireless use range from handheld devices
that fit in the palm of the users hand, also known as
PDAs (personal data assistants), to complete desktop systems
often connected to or integrated with a cart and special battery
technology. There are also several hybrid systems much like
clipboards or tablets.
Some providers believe that the size of the computer can be
a hindrance to gaining acceptance by the patient. Having a smaller
computer can help. One case described this. At Midwest Heart
Specialists, a thirty-cardiologist practice in Downers Grove,
Illinois, OTolle, a cardiac specialist stated, We
didnt want our interaction with patients to be altered
by the presence of a large cumbersome computer
Safety can also be improved with wireless mobile computers
and through the use of bar codes and scanners hooked to the
devices. A patients armband can be scanned as well as
a barcode on a drug to be administered. If the unit and dose
match for the patients order, the medication can be given.
This double check mechanism can greatly reduce the highly publicized
errors that have occurred in some healthcare organizations.
Improvements in patient care can also come from a decrease
in the time it takes for a care provider to call for more care
for the patient Ordering a consult with a paper system normally
involves writing an order on a piece of paper and getting it
sent to a secretary who then transcribes the order into a computer
system. This can create errors with handwriting interpretations
as well as create delays. With an electronic ordering system
entered directly by the care provider, delays are minimal and
the accuracy of the order can be greatly improved.Care can then
be given to the patient much faster (Finch, 1999). According
to the Wireless LAN Alliance, time can be saved completing patient
documentation, analyzing patient cases, communicating with in-hospital
pharmacists, contributing to accounting-billing tasks, scheduling
patients, and collaborating in meetings.
Note: The report: Wireless Computing
At The Bedside is copyright by Andrew Galbus. PDA cortex thanks
Mr Galbus for sharing this information with our readers.
Report (PDF format)