The Value-Added of Electronic Medical Records

An article in ADVANCE for Nurses looks at the ways in which health information technology is improving care, outcomes and nurses' work environments in health care settings around the country, particularly when that IT is built with nursing in mind.

At Baptist Health South Florida, patient barcodes allow nurses quick and easy access to their patients' full profiles. The barcodes have dramatically reduced wait time for pain medication and also helped to ensure that nurses know the exact doses and frequency of dosage for each of their patients' medications. Several INQRI studies have addresses nurses' role in medication management, including reducing medication errors and improving regimen adherence post hospital discharge.

Other uses of health IT, include automating the admissions process, so that when information on a patient is recorded during intake, that information is shared with other health care providers and hospital staff who may help provide care.

The article also discusses younger nurses' higher comfort level with information technology and ways that hospitals are successfully orienting new hires to their electronic medical records (EMR) systems and how schools of nursing are preparing students to use those records. A recent post on the RWJF Human Capital Blog by Ann Marie Mauro, an associate professor at NYU College of Nursing discusses how the college's simulation program also helps nursing students learn how to use EMR.