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communication, efficiency, nursing workflow, smartphones



  1. Baharaeen, Kathlyn MSN, RN
  2. Godwin, Eryn M. MA
  3. Mullen, Tiffany A. MSN, RN
  4. Hamacher, McKenzie MSN, APRN, FNP-C
  5. Fouquet, Sarah PhD


ABSTRACT: Although smartphone use in the workplace by physicians has been well documented, such use by nurses warrants further examination. In particular, there is a lack of research regarding the effects of smartphone use on nursing efficiency and workflow satisfaction. Our organization developed a pilot program to introduce the use of hospital-issued smartphones by direct care nurses in the pediatric ICU (PICU) and a satellite ED and created an implementation team to carry this out. Our research team thought it important to measure and evaluate nursing efficiency and workflow both before and after these phones were issued. The original plan included three primary measures: pre- and postimplementation surveys (both units), time-on-task studies (both units), and interruption observations (PICU only). Because of technical difficulties, the PICU pilot arm was abandoned after the smartphones were introduced. The ED arm completed the postimplementation time-on-task studies and the postimplementation survey nine months after implementation. The postimplementation survey results showed that nurses preferred other methods of communication over smartphones, and smartphones were scored lower than all other forms of communication for ease of integration into the workflow. Time-on-task results indicated texting was faster with smartphones than it was when using T9 texting (predictive texting) with the wireless Ascom phones in the PICU. Making calls with the smartphone took ED nurses significantly longer, and many preferred their traditional communication methods. Further research is needed to determine whether smartphones can be optimized to enhance nursing workflow, increase efficiency, and improve patient outcomes. This article provides vital information for nurses and others considering a transition to the use of smartphones or similar devices in the workplace.