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Nurses would trade time spent on medical devices for patient care

Nurses would spend more time at patients’ bedsides if they could cut down on how often they have to operate medical devices. That sentiment was shared by 91% of 526 nurses that took part in a survey commissioned by Gary and Mary West Health Institute and conducted online by Harris Poll. More than two-thirds of nurses said the time they spend transcribing data from one device to another is likely to take time away from patient care.

Nearly every nurse that responded said they interact with a form of technology during a shift. Not all of their opinions supported the notion that technology has simplified care coordination and improved patient outcomes. In fact, half of the nurses said they’ve seen a medical error occur from faulty device coordination and 74% find it burdensome to gather and organize all of the data produced by medical devices.

As it stands, nearly half (47%) of nurses — a group of medical professionals that spends a lot of time working with technology — feel interacting with medical devices is one of the least effective ways to spend their time. More interoperability between medical devices would lessen the technology burden on nurses and free them up to spend more of their days caring for patients. Three out of five nurses believe that medical errors would be significantly reduced if their facility’s medical devices automatically shared data. Respondents were nearly unanimous in their belief that it would be beneficial if medical devices were able to share data with one another, with 91% saying that would be very or extremely helpful.

The survey also asked nurses to share what tasks of theirs require them to interact with technology. The majority (89%) indicated they access EHRs and two-thirds use medical devices at patients’ bedsides. Transcribing patient data and managing alarms were other common answers, with 58% and 54% of nurses offering those as reasons.