Survey measures benefits of nursing information system

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A recent study of the benefits of information systems (IS) for nurses looked at outcomes related to tangible improvements or products. Nurses realized the benefit of IS by using it in their daily work.

Amany A. Abdrdo, PhD, a lecturer in the nursing administration department at Cairo University in Cairo, Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, PhD, a professor in community health nursing and associate dean for doctoral education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues said in a summer report published in Perspectives in Health Information Management that using specific system instruments limits research results and does not fully understand the benefits of IS, in general.

“Moreover, there is no instrument that measures all of IS’ benefits. Therefore, in this study, a list of 56 items derived from instruments measuring IS benefits were examined. The list is relevant to nurses and their practice,” the authors said.

The specific benefits of IS to nurses focused on quality of care, accessibility, promptness and completeness of patient information. Previous nursing informatics research Abdrdo and Zauszniewski cited have included quality of care as a benefit of using IS, showing quality enhancements through the use of IS, improvements in accessing patient information, obtaining prompt, complete and uniform patient information, and processing patient admissions more efficiently.

Other benefits of IS include communication and documentation for exchanging data and information. These benefits can be examined using “bedside computer impact questionnaires,” which evaluate the nursing documentation bedside computer system.

IS can also facilitate communication between and among nurses, physicians and other team members, and can improve patient outcomes. In addition, IS assures complete patient documentation, facilitates in evaluating patient care outcomes and improves patient safety.

Other IS benefits include compliance improvements with nursing documentation standards, charting consistency within the care plan, chart availability and communication improvements among staff, nurses, patients and other care team members.

Information systems are being progressively integrated more and more into nursing work. Areas in nursing that can be improved by using IS include nursing documentation, care planning, reporting, and decision making. Researchers in nursing informatics say that using IS in nursing is important for improving clinical practice and the quality of patient care.