Equipped for Efficiency: Improving Nursing Care Through Technology

Fran Turisco and Jared Rhoads, CSC

This CHCF report, a successor to 2002's The Nursing Shortage: Can Technology Help?, examines how technologies designed to improve hospital efficiency, patient safety, and quality of care are affecting the work environment for nurses.

December 2008

Surveys show that nurses prefer to work in hospitals in which safety, quality, and their own job satisfaction are top priorities. New technologies have the potential to improve the environment for nurses by helping them devote more of their time and expertise to caring for patients, rather than tracking down equipment, managing supplies, or locating clinicians and staff.

This 2008 report, a successor to the 2002 CHCF publication The Nursing Shortage: Can Technology Help?, examines hospitals' experiences with eight types of devices and applications: wireless communications, real-time location systems, delivery robots, workflow management systems, wireless patient monitoring, electronic medication administration with bar coding, electronic clinical documentation with clinical decision support, and interactive patient systems. Two other technologies — alarm/event messaging and biomedical device integration — are also discussed.

The results indicate that these systems have helped to create a better workplace for inpatient nurses, raising their job satisfaction while also contributing to improvements in care. All of the hospitals that shared their experience planned to expand their use of these technologies, suggesting that the impact of such systems will continue to grow.

The complete report is available under Document Downloads.