Nursing informatics: How mobile is your technology?
Mary Beth Mitchell MSN, RN-BC

Nursing Management
September 2012 
Volume 43  Number 9
Pages 26 - 30
  PDF Version Available!

In a world in which we've come to expect immediate access to any type of information, where management of information is just an app away, e-mail is outdated, and communication is frequently done via texting, how do we as nurses navigate the barrage of technology that often seems to collide with our ability to care for our patients?After implementing our electronic health record (EHR), Texas Health Resources shifted focus from implementation to finding additional opportunities to meet the expanding needs of patients and clinicians. Mobile technology continues to receive increased attention in terms of access to information and efficiency of processes. In the inpatient environment, there's interest in expanding the use of mobile devices. But what exactly does that mean, and what's the impact on nursing practice and policy?Everything from barcoded medication administration to management of communication between patients and nurses may be enhanced by devices that can perform multiple functions, are simple to use, and easy to carry. The use of mobile workstations on wheels, typically called WOWs, is prevalent in hospitals today. WOWs operate on a wireless platform and, although somewhat cumbersome, may easily be moved between patient rooms or other areas of the hospital. As the wireless infrastructure evolves within the clinical setting, WOWs are a common way of having a small device, such as a laptop, mounted on a rolling cart, and may even include barcode scanners, electronic signature pads, or label printers to improve the nursing workflow.Although WOWs are commonly used and widely adopted at Texas Health Resources, there's a growing desire by clinicians to move to smaller, even more portable devices. Most notable is the growing use of tablets and smartphones. Physicians use their personal devices to access clinical applications that allow them to review lab results and other patient information, including fetal monitoring strips and ECGs. Other disciplines are also

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