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Are Mobile Hospital Charts in Your Future?

Career News August 6, 2013

As people become increasingly reliant on mobile devices to access information while they’re on the go, it’s no surprise that nurses and other healthcare providers are beginning to take advantage of these devices to access patients’ charts. Developments in nursing informatics mean that you can launch an app on your Smartphone or mobile tablet to review a chart and add information whenever and wherever you need to.

If you aren’t already using mobile charts at your hospital, it’s possible that you will have the opportunity to do so in the future as more people embrace the use of mobile technology in healthcare. The easier it is for you to access, enter and share information, the better you and your colleagues will be able at caring for your patients.

Nurses who already use a mobile device to look up details in a digital medical references book or app may be able to use the same device to begin charting their patients. They can also use the device to help explain medical concepts to patients and their families. Even if a nurse has little or no experience using apps on mobile devices to enter, update and manage information, using this technology is fairly straightforward.

Fast Access while you’re on the Go

Instead of being tied down to a computer mounted in the patient’s room or using a terminal that you have to drag along on a cart, you can use your mobile device from any location and access a patient’s chart over the hospital’s local area network. For example, if you run into another nurse or a doctor in the hallway and want to discuss a patient, you can quickly open the chart and get the information you need or update it as needed.

While administrators at a hospital might view wireless computing as a disruptive technology, they can come to see it as beneficial to patients when their digital records are integrated with physician orders, medicine delivery orders and verifications from the pharmacy, according to an IBM study, “Patient Care and Safety at the Frontlines: Nurses’ Experiences with Wireless Computing.”

Handwriting and Voice Recognition

Nurses won’t always be required to type in information as they chart a patient when they use a mobile device. Touch screen technology enables devices to display a virtual keyboard, but it also lets you write by pressing a finger against the display or by writing with a stylus.

The device recognizes the gestures you make against the screen and translates them into text for entry into the chart. What’s more, mobile technology is sufficiently advanced to enable voice recognition, which means you can dictate information while you’re on the move, enabling yourself to do faster and more efficient charting. For example, you could take a patient’s pulse and immediately dictate the number into a chart via a mobile device’s built-in microphone before removing your finger.

Imagine being able to work on a patient’s chart by tapping and typing on the touch-sensitive display of your tablet computer or Smartphone from any location in the hospital. Faster processing of patient charts means nurses can devote more of their time in the hospital to actually caring for patients as they spend less time doing the required documentation.

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