The Use of Computers in Nursing and Medical Education

“The use of computers in health care is no longer a question for discussion and debate. Their application in nursing is a reality in many centers … “@Cite(HannahKJ88a “, p. 263”). With this opening statement, Hannah presents a concise overview of the use of computers in nursing practice. The primary applications are in the support of nursing documentation, patient care planning, and patient monitoring. Nurses must spend a considerable amount of time documenting the care they are giving to their patients. In non-computerized environments, this involves writing the nursing notes in longhand.

These notes report on the treatments, medications, procedures, diagnostic tests, and other components of the patient’s health and activity over a certain period of time. In computerized environments, the documentation process can be automated through the use of standard reporting forms and checklists that allow the nurse to use various computer interface modalities to quickly enter the information concerning the patient. Menus, windows, pointing devices, or cursor keys can be used to select standard items from lists, while specific data (such as numeric values) can be entered via a keyboard.

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This automated documentation process not only saves time, but it also increases the accuracy of patient information and makes it more readily accessible for diagnostic or statistical analysis. Computerized patient care planning can be implemented in a manner similar to the documentation process noted previously. Since standard lists of nursing diagnoses and interventions for particular patient problems have been prepared for almost all areas of nursing, it is not too great a leap to present these items via computer so that they can be selected and associated with particular patients.

The Advantages of Computers in Nursing Stock of Medicines * One of the major advantages of computers in nursing is that a basic system permits the nurses to have an updated record of the pharmaceuticals the hospital have in stock. Therefore, when making inventories, the process is much faster and accurate in order to always have a full stock of all the medicines needed to treat patients. Computers also allow making a description of each medicine, including side effects, composition and uses. Clinical Records.

* Computers allow nurses to get the patient’s clinical records in a matter of minutes. It’s not necessary for nurses to wade through stacks of papers and files anymore. Also, if the patient has ever been treated in a specific medical institution, the hospital interconnected network allows nurses to ask online for their patient’s clinical records and receive an immediate response. This is very important when treating a patient since knowing their pre-existng conditions is a matter of life or death. Improving Patient Treatment and Follow-ups.

* Nurses often use computers to take full notes on how a treatment is progressing. By placing notes on the patient dosage, with reminders about giving medicines, nurses ensure the proper treatment of a patient. Statistics show that even when there’s human error involved when treating patients, these have been reduced to a minimum. If a medication has not been released, the computer makes a notification so that the nurses can address this issue in a timely manner. Research * Computers in nursing today contain huge medical libraries open to research and study.

Nurses, during their college years and when working in a hospital, need to keep updated constantly. Online data bases of medical cases from all around the world, medicine researches, and treatment comparisons are essential to their professional growth. The Disadvantages of Computers in Hospitals Cost * One of the biggest drawbacks of adding computers to hospitals is the cost. Computers cost money, and a large hospital needs many computers to keep the system running smoothly. Creating a network to transfer medical records or keep track of billing is an additional initial cost.

Unlike paper records, which simply require a few more copies, electronic record keeping requires constant upkeep of computers, computer software and other electronic elements, which can cost even more. Security * If your doctor or hospital is switching to computers or electronic record keeping, you’re probably worried about the security of your medical records. Paper records are kept in a doctor’s office or a warehouse, but once computers are added to a hospital, electronic record keeping typically follows.

Once electronic record keeping is begun, medical information is usually added to a closed computer network, but as long as an Internet connection comes into the network, the system is vulnerable to outside sources, opening the debate to questions about patient privacy and medical record security. Lack of Standardization * From a hospital point of view, one of the biggest disadvantages of adding computers and electronic records to a hospital is the lack of standardization through the medical field.

Different hospitals use different shorthand abbreviations or symbols on medical records than others. Even the codes called out during emergencies don’t always mean the same thing in every hospital. If a medical record is transferred from another hospital or the system becomes open so hospitals can share information, the lack of standardization in hospital notes and records could cause problems when it comes to a medical professional’s understanding of the medical record. BY SHINY. R (Shiny. n12).

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